AAP, which is celebrating its first anniversary on Nov 26, withdrew support to Pritpal Singh Saluja. "Keeping the high moral standards which party professes, the Political Affairs Committee of AAP has taken a serious view of Saluja not revealing about FIR and criminal case against him in Lucknow, we have decided to withdraw our support," AAP leader Yogendra Yadav said.
Yadav: He is not a party candidate any more. We are leaving the seat vacant
He, however, said that since the last date of withdrawal of names was already over (November 20), so "Saluja can't be withdrawn officially, but he is not a party candidate any more and we are leaving the seat vacant".
The party said it was brought to its notice that an FIR was registered against Saluja and three of his family members in October 2012 at Lucknow. Lucknow Police filed a charge sheet for dowry harassment against him and some family members in August.
"A notice was issued by the trial court to him on November 11, which does not appear to have reached him before November 14, the day he filed his nomination as the party's official candidate," Yadav said, adding his declaration in the nomination form that no criminal case was pending against him, may be technically correct.
Also, none of the charges against Saluja has been proven in any court of law but Saluja did not bring these facts to the attention of the party while applying for candidature, he said, adding he got the information yesterday and received the related papers on Tuesday.
After senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan went through the papers, and found them authentic, the party decided to drop him. "This is for the first time in the history of elections that a party has withdrawn its candidate on the ground of criminal case against him, just a few days left for elections," he said and sought apology from the voters of Rajouri Garden constituency.
The party, which was officially launched a year ago, had resolved to retire a candidate even a day before the elections against whom any serious fact comes to its notice, which show that he does not conform to the moral standards expected from AAP candidates.