AAP calls for nationwide protest against Kejriwal’s arrest

AAP leaders in Punjab, Haryana condemn Delhi CM Kejriwal’s arrest. The ED arrested Kejriwal in an excise policy-linked money-laundering case on Thursday evening.

New Delhi: The AAP’s Delhi unit convenor Gopal Rai gave a call on Thursday for a nationwide protest against the BJP following Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Rai said Kejriwal’s arrest is the “murder of democracy” and an “announcement of dictatorship”.

The ED arrested Kejriwal in an excise policy-linked money-laundering case on Thursday evening and took him to the agency’s headquarters here, officials said.

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The arrest, the first of a sitting chief minister, came hours after the Delhi High Court refused to grant protection to the AAP national convenor from any coercive action by the federal agency.

“I appeal to the countrymen to protest outside BJP offices across the country against this dictatorship. We will gather at the AAP office at 10 am on Friday and then protest outside the BJP headquarters,” Rai, a minister in the Delhi government, said.

“If Kejriwal can be arrested, anyone can be arrested and their voice can be suppressed. From today, the fight has begun. Arvind Kejriwal is not a person, but an ideology,” he added.

Ever since the INDIA bloc was formed, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre feels that it will not get 400 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls but will only be restricted to 40 seats, Rai claimed.

Thus, the saffron party is targeting opposition leaders, he alleged.

“Today, they have crossed all limits. All of you will go home tonight. I appeal to Delhiites to join the fight,” the minister said.

At a midnight press conference, Delhi ministers Atishi, Rai and the AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sandeep Pathak condemned the way in which Kejriwal was arrested.

Delhi minister Saurabh Bharadwaj was also present.

Addressing the press conference, Pathak said, “This is no longer a fight between the BJP and the AAP. This is a fight between the country’s people and the BJP. This is no longer a fight of the AAP but a fight of all those who want clean politics in the country.”

Atishi said Kejriwal’s fight will continue from the “roads to the court”.

“The Supreme Court will hear the case on Friday. This arrest is unconstitutional. They arrested (former Jharkhand chief minister) Hemant Soren, Arvind Kejriwal and froze the accounts of Congress,” she said.

Earlier, Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely joined the AAP protest outside Kejriwal’s residence.

“They have arrested Hemant Soren, Arvind Kejriwal, frozen our accounts. In what direction is the country’s democracy heading? We are standing with our INDIA bloc partner and will fight the elections strongly,” Lovely said.

Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, in a post on on X, said, “BJP ki rajnitik team ED Kejriwal ki soch ko qaid nahi kar sakti kyunki AAP hee BJP ko rok sakti hai..Soch ko kabhi bhi dabaya nahi ja sakta. (BJP’s political team ED, cannot imprison Kejriwal’s thinking..because only AAP can stop the BJP. Thinking can never be suppressed.) Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema lambasted the BJP-led Union government for Kejriwal’s arrest.

“Today I strongly condemn the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal by ED. This dictatorial regime is making a mockery of constitutional norms and killing the spirit of democracy by destroying the opposition in every way. This shows the fear of BJP and today’s action is the beginning of the end of BJP,” Cheema in a post on X.

AAP’s Haryana unit president Sushil Gupta said, “This is a black day for democracy. The BJP is already trying to destroy the country’s democracy .

You have arrested him, how will you stop his ideology?” In a video which he posted on X, Gupta further said that the party’s Haryana unit has decided to gherao Chief Minister Nayab Singh Saini’s Kurukshetra residence on Friday.

“This period is an undeclared emergency created by BJP. The party, scared of the INDIA alliance, is conspiring to stop Arvind Kejriwal. Pressure is being put on him to separate from the INDIA alliance, but BJP does not know that the entire country stands with Kejriwal. I am going to Delhi immediately..,” Gupta in a post on X.

Punjab Congress president Amrinder Singh Raja Warring took on the BJP, alleging it is “hell bent upon destroying all opposition”.

“BJP is hell bent on destroying all opposition, by hook or by crook. Just a month before the Parliamentary Election 2024 INC bank accounts were frozen, making it difficult for opposition to campaign,” he said.

“Then opposition’s Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren was arrested. Now, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has been arrested by ED. We strongly condemn this draconian action. This is fascism,” Warring posted on X.

Senior Congress leader and party’s Rajya Sabha MP from Haryana, Deepender Singh Hooda alleged BJP government’s style of targeting opposition leaders by misusing government agencies is nothing new.

In the last few years, BJP has done the same work of suppressing all the strong voices of opposition in the country, Hooda said.

“There is no such party in the opposition, no such strong leader left in the opposition who is not the target of the BJP government. I consider the arrest of AAP Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal as unfortunate but not surprising!” Hooda posted on X.

Senior BJP leader Birender Singh’s son Brijendra Singh, the Hisar MP who recently quit the BJP and joined the Congress, said Kejriwal’s arrest “is not just unconstitutional but a glaring sign of political desperation”.

“Resorting to such tactics undermines the very essence of democracy.This is a grave affront to democratic values,” Brijendra Singh posted on X.

Meanwhile, Punjab Cabinet minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal alleged that the BJP was “punishing” Kejriwal for providing excellent schools, hospitals, free electricity and water to the poor and middle-class of Delhi.

“The public will answer ..you can arrest Kejriwal but how will you stop his thinking?” he said.

AAP Punjab unit chief spokesperson Malvinder Singh Kang said Kejriwal’s arrest over “frivolous” Delhi’s liquor policy money laundering case is “watershed moment” in the political history of India.

“This could indeed be the last straw for the Modi government,” he said in a post on X.

Meanwhile, Chandigarh Congress president H S Lucky too condemned the arrest of Kejriwal.

The AAP and the Congress fought the recent mayoral elections in Chandigarh in alliance.

Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akali Dal leader Daljit Singh Cheema said the arrest of Kejriwal in a serious case of corruption by the ED has “exposed the real face of AAP”.

“The party which came to power by painting the whole political system as corrupt has surpassed all records of corruption in a record time,” said Cheema in a post.

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