As the indefinite fast of two AAP leaders here entered the fourth day on Saturday, the party said it will intensify the agitation against the ruling BJP in Gujarat over the alleged leak of examination paper for the recruitment of head clerks in government departments. Delhi MLA and Aam Aadmi Party's Gujarat in-charge Gulab Singh Yadav and state leader Mahesh Savani are on hunger strike at the party office here from Friday.
On Thursday, several AAP leaders and workers including state unit chief Gopal Italia were arrested after they stormed into the BJP headquarters in Gandhinagar during a protest over the paper leak. While 28 arrested women members were released on Saturday after they got bail from the court, 65 male activists including Italia remain in jail, said party leader Manoj Sorathiya here. "It is a reflection of the BJP's mentality that despite protests, the government has not removed Asit Vora (chairman of Gujarat Subordinate Services Selection Board which organises the competitive exam)," he told reporters.
The party will launch a door-to-door campaign "to expose the BJP's mentality, and garner support from people for the protest," Sorathiya said. The AAP had sought police permission to stage the hunger strike near Gandhi Ashram here but it was denied for no valid reason, and it has now moved the Gujarat High Court challenging it, he added. "Party's national president and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is keeping a watch on the developments and is likely to visit Gujarat soon," he said.
Bail applications of Italia and others are likely to be heard next week, Sorathiya said. The arrested AAP members were booked under IPC sections related to rioting, sexual harassment, assault, trespass, assault on public servants, wrongful restraint and unlawful assembly, among others. The Gujarat government initially maintained that it had not found any concrete evidence about the question paper leak.
Later, the police in north Gujarat arrested eight persons for allegedly procuring the paper from an employee of the press where it was printed. The AAP has also demanded compensation of Rs 50,000 each to around 88,000 candidates who appeared for the recruitment exam on December 12. The exam was later declared as canceled.
-With PTI Inputs