Maliwal episode raises more questions than answers

New Delhi: The previously unthinkable is taking place in the national capital — opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) “demanding justice” for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Rajya Sabha MP Swati Maliwal.

Not many would have imagined the ongoing ironical situation till May 13 — the day when former Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Maliwal was allegedly assaulted at the official residence of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

That the incident took place inside the CM’s residence and involved his Personal Assistant (PA) has given the opposition enough ammo to fire at the AAP supremo amid the ongoing election season.

While it is obvious for the BJP to seek political mileage out of the incident, it has raised more questions than answers.

First, and perhaps the biggest, is the silence of Kejriwal over the entire matter.

In a much-delayed press meet on the issue, AAP MP Sanjay Singh asserted that the party “stands with Maliwal” and the CM has taken cognisance of the entire matter by ordering strict action.

What he also revealed was that the former DCW chief was waiting for the CM in the drawing room of his official residence when Kejriwal’s PA Bibhav Kumar allegedly assaulted her.

It is impossible to believe that any visitor, even a high-profile one, enters the CM’s residence and is made to sit in the drawing room without prior permission.

The provocation behind Kumar’s alleged action has still not been made public. Why the CM, who was apparently present in the house, did not intervene before or after the incident also remains unclear so far.

Second, and what complicates the matter further, is Maliwal’s continued silence on the matter. Hailed as a champion of women’s rights, she has fought against injustice and violence against women for years.

While the BJP is training guns at the AAP, and even the National Commission for Women (NCW) offering to intervene, Maliwal herself has chosen to remain quiet on the issue, prompting opposition leaders to raise questions over her safety, or asking if she is being threatened into silence.

Maliwal not filing a formal complaint even after visiting the Civil Lines police station post the alleged assault is something that raises eyebrows too.

She has remained “untraceable” even though Singh apparently met the leader at her residence in Delhi late on Wednesday afternoon.

Third, it is still not clear why Bibhav Kumar would dare to assault a female party leader and a sitting Member of Parliament.

Fourth, AAP insiders have no qualms in admitting that anyone who gets close to the party supremo is inviting trouble.

Citing past examples relating to Prashant Bhushan and Kumar Vishwas — and the continued absence of present leaders like Raghav Chadha — they reckon all’s never been well with the Aam Aadmi Party’s top leadership.


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