By: Shubham Ghosh
Leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), one of India’s major anti-Narendra Modi forces, on Monday (27) lashed out at the current Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government and staged protests after one of its top leaders, Manish Sisodia, the deputy chief minister of the northern state of Delhi was arrested in connection with a liquor policy case.
Sanjay Singh, one of the AAP’s parliamentarians who was detained along with fellow party leaders on Sunday (26), said the BJP was trying to tarnish the image of Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi, and claimed that he would have prime minister Modi, home minister Amit Shah and billionaire industrialist Gautam Adani “arrested within two hours” if probe agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) were with him.
Singh made the remarks after he was released along with other protesting party colleagues on Monday.
They were detained after staging a demonstration outside the CBI’s office in support of Sisodia following his arrest which happened after several hours of questioning.
Speaking to the Asian News International after his release, Singh alleged that the saffron party was trying to “defame” the chief minister of Delhi but said that all such attempts will fail.
“There will soon be an end to PM Modi’s dictatorship. He arrested the most popular education minister (Manish Sisodia) of the country. He is trying to defame Arvind Kejriwal but such acts won’t affect his image. It was a cowardly act by the Centre to have Sisodia arrested by the agencies,” the AAP MP said.
“Give me ED and CBI, I will arrest Modi, Amit Shah and Adani within two hours. You can do anything when you have the power to misuse probe agencies,” he added.
Delhi minister Gopal Rai said the government will remain unaffected and will run its course even if the BJP gets all its ministers arrested.
“The arrest of Manish Sisodia and the BJP’s friendship with Adani are issues that can’t be tolerated. Even if they (BJP) arrest all our ministers, our government will run its course,” he said.
Sisodia, the second-most important AAP leader in Delhi, has not only been the face of his government’s education policy but also considered a pivot of the party’s plans for political expansion.
The AAP, which has been in power in Delhi since 2015, said it would hold protests across the country, including outside the BJP’s headquarters in the national capital, against the arrest of the deputy chief minister.
Top sources in Delhi Police said adequate arrangements have been made to maintain the law and order.
“Effective and robust police arrangement is in place on the ground to maintain law and order,” one top officer was quoted as saying by the ANI.
Earlier on Monday, AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj claimed that the party leaders, who were detained Sunday, have been arrested and will be produced in court.
“The Centre has broken all limits of democracy. It arrested Manish Sisodia without any proof due to political reasons. You have arrested the entire leadership of our party, except for Arvind Kejriwal and some others. Many of the leaders are detained since last afternoon. Under which sections, are they being detained for so long? The police will produce them in court as they have shown the detainees as being arrested,” Bharadwaj told ANI.
He claimed further that the government has arrested the entire leadership of the AAP.
“It is not detention but arrest on the orders of the Centre. The police have arrested our entire leadership. We will protest outside the BJP office today as all the instructions are being given from there,” Bhardwaj said.
The CBI on Sunday released a statement on Sisodia’s arrest, saying he was giving evasive replies and not cooperating in the investigation.
The probe agency also said that Sisodia was earlier called on February 19 for investigation, but had sought a week’s time citing preoccupations.
Shortly before arriving at the CBI office for questioning, Sisodia said false cases were being lodged against party leaders as Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “afraid” of Kejriwal.