By: Shubham Ghosh
India’s Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) woes continued unabated on Tuesday (28) as two of its leading ministers — Manish Sisodia and Satyender Jain — who have been arrested in recent times, quit the cabinet in the northern state of Delhi. Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal accepted the duo’s resignations and reassigned their ministries.
The AAP, however, said that the resignations did not mark an acceptance of guilt and that they were just an “administrative step”. Sources in the party said that no new ministers will join the cabinet, at least till the state’s budget which is scheduled in March, reports said.
Delhi politics saw an uproar on Sunday (26) when Sisodia, who was the deputy chief minister of Delhi and also held several key departments such as education, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India’s premier probe agency, over allegations of corruption in a liquor policy case.
Sisodia moved the Supreme Court of India seeking bail after his arrest but the top court rejected the plea and asked him to go to a lower court first. The AAP said on Tuesday (28) that it would move the Delhi high court seeking Sisodia’s bail.
In his resignation letter which was sent shortly after the apex court refused to entertain his plea, Sisodia wrote, “I am stepping away till the charges against me are proven false.”
“There are likely to be more cases against me… God knows these allegations are false.”
His departments were assigned to ministers Kailash Gahlot and Raj Kumar Anand.
Jain was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate over charges of money-laundering last May.
The duo’s resignations came soon after the Bharatiya Janata Party asked why the arrested duo were still in the Delhi government.
The resignation of Sisodia could deliver a major blow to the AAP’s national ambitions ahead of the 2024 general elections since he was not only their second in command but also carried a major responsibility in running the show in Delhi. Kejriwal focused more on the party’s national expansion plans but the latest development might see the Delhi chief minister having to curtail his national ambition, including in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the two states that would go to polls later in 2023.