More than two dozen retired IPS officers have written to President Droupadi Murmu, urging her to "counsel" Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal against his "high-headed and boorish behaviour" with police personnel, prompting the AAP to allege that it is the handiwork of the BJP.
The letter signed by several former state police chiefs cited a recent spat involving Kejriwal and Gujarat Police officials over the former's insistence to ride an autorickshaw during his poll campaigning in the state and said the AAP leader's "words and actions" created an "unfair spectacle" of the police force.
In a statement, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) prospects in the Gujarat Assembly polls, slated to be held later this year, are "very bad", which is why the letter was written.
"Obviously, the BJP is behind this letter. The BJP's prospects in Gujarat in the forthcoming elections are very bad. Their own leaders lack any mass appeal and are completely discredited.
"That is why the BJP has to now sought the help of some retired police officers. The AAP is gaining ground exponentially and the BJP is clueless on how to tackle the AAP, which is why such a letter has been written," the statement said.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Police chief SP Vaid, who is one of the signatories to the letter, said, "As experienced police officers, we know that a politician, especially one holding a post like that of a chief Minister, is free to conduct his business as he wishes but he should also understand that police are duty-bound to protect him and should not be needlessly dragged into politics."
Through his "unpleasant words and actions", Kejriwal "intended to paint himself as a political martyr," the letter said, adding that however, in doing so, he "unfairly created a spectacle of the police force" not only in Gujarat, but throughout the country.
"We, therefore, humbly request you to intervene as the Head of State and counsel Mr Kejriwal against such high-headed and boorish behaviour that is intended to undermine the police force of our country," the letter read.
The AAP national convenor is involved in an intense campaigning in poll-bound Gujarat, which is ruled by the BJP. AAP leaders, led by Kejriwal, have launched a no-holds-barred attack on the saffron party ahead of the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls.
Citing the Gujarat incident, the letter written to Murmu by the retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officers said the police officials enjoined with the duty of providing security to the chief minister acceded to his request to go to an autorickshaw driver's home in his autorickshaw.
In order to ensure that the requisite level of security was maintained and to prevent any lapses in the chief minister's safety, the police official concerned said he would accompany Kejriwal to the location, it said.
"However, in response to the police official's prudent suggestion, Mr Kejriwal made certain distasteful and inconsiderate remarks. These curt remarks have caused deep injury to the police force," the letter claimed.
As Kejriwal is the chief minister of the country's capital city, police were duty-bound to ensure his safety, it said.
"It was disheartening to note that in order to score a political brownie point, Mr Kejriwal conducted himself in a manner that utterly belittled the police officers for diligently obeying their duties," it added.
The letter also alleged that Kejriwal "unfortunately" was involved in such incidents earlier as well. Ahead of the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls, the AAP leader had raised a "similar grievance" against the state police, demanding complete withdrawal of his security, it said.
Soon after the campaigning concluded, in a "completely conflicting stance", Kejriwal cited "threat perception" and alleged that he was not given adequate protection, the letter added.