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AAP protests against Delhi Police outside EC (Lead)

Friday - March 15, 2019 9:48 pm , Category : INDIA
New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders, including Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and MP Sanjay Singh, who staged a sit-in on Friday outside the Election Commission to protest against alleged raids at the party's call centres, called off the sit-in following assurances from the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC).
CEC Sunil Arora assured the AP leaders that a joint meeting of Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer and senior police officials will be held over the issue.
In a series of tweets, Sisodia first said that the police raided a call centre hired by the AAP.
"I am standing outside the Election Commission and waiting to meet the Election Commissioner (EC). I will wait outside the building until the EC is meeting me (sic)."
He also said that the party leaders are sitting outside the office of the EC demanding and hoping for a fair election.
"In a democracy, the Election Commission is the father of all political parties during the elections. At the BJP's behest, the raids are being carried out at the call centres of the AAP. It is necessary to stop the hooliganism of the Delhi Police."
Calling off the protest, Sisodia said the meeting with the CEC was done. "He (CEC) called for a joint meeting of Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer and senior police officials," he said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in several tweets, also denounced the Delhi Police.
"The police has raided without any search warrant and is barging into server rooms and interrogating all call centre agents. What is this going on? What is the crime?" Kejriwal asked.
"Police reach another call centre. Asking for server details and our data," he said.
The sit-in of the AAP leaders came hours after a party delegation led by Sisodia and Sanjay Singh met CEC Sunil Arora in the morning alleging that the police were harassing employees of a call centre hired by the party.
Sisodia accused the Delhi Police of being influenced by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and working like "goons".
The AAP delegation, including MP Sanjay Singh, party's Lok Sabha candidates Raghav Chadha and Atishi Marlena, urged the CEC to direct the Delhi Police to stop the harassment of call centre employees.
On the complaint of BJP that the AAP was making "misleading" phone calls about the voter list, the Election Commission last month had asked the Delhi Police to probe telephone calls to people claiming their names have been deleted from the electoral rolls. It also directed the police to take action against the people making such calls. An FIR was also filed in this regard.
Sisodia said that the party hired the call centre to make people aware that names had been deleted from the voter list.
"The call centre was not making proxy calls. They were hired by the AAP. We have an agreement with them. Talk to AAP, talk to Arvind Kejriwal, Sanjay Singh, Manish Sisodia, and other party leaders if you have an issue. But instead, they (police) are harassing the people of call centre," he said.
Accusing the BJP of deleting names from the electoral rolls in the city as part of their election strategy, the AAP said it hired a call centre having office in different parts of the city, to ask and inform the voters about the Act.
Singh also wrote to the EC saying the BJP, through the police, is harassing the AAP leaders and the people of Delhi and there is a possibility that the elections would be influenced.
In the two-page letter in Hindi, Singh said the Delhi Police, which comes under the Central government, is harassing the AAP leaders, the people appointed at the call centres hired by the AAP and also the general public.

--IANS nks/nir

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