Upset about paper rejection, AAP candidate tries to set himself on fire

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AAP’s Meerapur candidate Joginder Singh Bankura tried to self-immolate by pouring kerosene on himself outside the Muzaffarnagar collectorate on Monday after his poll nomination paper was rejected owing to “crucial omissions”. Policemen and others at the collectorate overpowered the former Army major subedar, who had opted for the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS), before he could light his kerosene drenched clothes.

The 58-year-old, who had filed his nomination paper on January 20, later staged a sit-in outside the collectorate. Of the 26 nomination papers, his was the only one rejected by Meerapur Returning Officer Jayendra Kumar. Meerapur and 57 other constituencies will go to polls on February 10 in the first phase of the seven-leg Assembly elections.

“It has deliberately been done as I was not even given time to rectify the mistake in my papers. The returning officer did not listen to me despite my repeated pleas. The local administration is operating under duress from the ruling party and such dictatorship will not be tolerated,” said Bankura.

“There were crucial omissions in the nomination form which forced us to nullify it. Why should we handle his nomination papers with bias? Are there not other AAP candidates in the district whose papers have been declared valid after scrutiny?” asked Kumar.

District Magistrate Chandra Bhushan Singh later tried to pacify Bankura.

“The AAP candidate had errors in the first affidavit. He was informed about it and asked to submit a correct one. But in his second set of papers, he repeated more mistakes which led to his documents being declared invalid. This was at the sole discretion of the RO who has to follow the Election Commission norms,” Singh told The Indian Express on phone.

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