Big protests planned in Delhi against Aravind Kejriwal's arrest

Big protests planned in Delhi against Aravind Kejriwal's arrest
Big protests planned in Delhi against Aravind Kejriwal's arrest

We show you our most important and recent visitors news details Big protests planned in Delhi against Aravind Kejriwal's arrest in the following article

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - NEW DELHI — Battlelines are drawn after the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Aravind Kejriwal by India's financial crimes agency over an alleged policy scam.

His Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) called for nationwide protests outside the offices of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party on Friday, as the Supreme Court is likely to take up a petition by Kejriwal challenging the central government's decision to arrest him.

The prominent opposition politician has been arrested in connection with corruption allegations relating to the state government's policies over alcohol sales.

Kejriwal and his party deny any wrongdoing and say the case is politically motivated.

His arrest comes weeks before voting begins in India's general election.

Police surrounded Kejriwal's home on Thursday as it was searched by members of the Enforcement Directorate agency.

The case is over allegations that an alcohol sale policy implemented by the Delhi government in 2022, which ended the government monopoly, gave undue advantages to private retailers.

Kejriwal has ignored numerous summonses in the case.

The AAP has accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of playing "dirty politics" and says it sought an urgent hearing at the Supreme Court to secure Kejriwal's release.

Senior officers are saying that multiple teams from police stations of the central district have been deployed around AAP and BJP party headquarters in view of the massive protests, local media reported.

India's general election will take place in seven phases over April and May, with the results to be announced on 4 June.

Ahead of the vote, opposition parties have accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP government of misusing government agencies for political ends.

Dilip Pandey, AAP lawmaker and chief whip in the Delhi assembly, told the BBC the arrest shows that Modi "is scared of Kejriwal".

"They can arrest Kejriwal but not his thoughts. We will continue to fight his arrest and the unjust policies of Modi's government," Pandey said.

Two other AAP leaders, Sanjay Singh and Manish Sisodia, were arrested last year in the same case.

They are among several prominent opposition leaders subject to criminal investigations many say are politically motivated.

Indian opposition leaders have strongly condemned the arrest of Kejriwal. They have alleged that his arrest is politically motivated.

Kejriwal's arrest by a financial crimes agency comes as a blow to the opposition just weeks before India's general elections. AAP is part of the 27-party INDIA alliance aiming to challenge the BJP.

Alluding to Modi, Rahul Gandhi of the main opposition Congress party wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Thursday evening: "A scared dictator wants to create a dead democracy."

"The arrest of elected Chief Ministers has become a common thing," Gandhi wrote.

Sharad Pawar, leader of the Nationalist Congress Party, said that Kejriwal's arrest showcases the "depth to which BJP will stoop for power".

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said Kejriwal's arrest would "give birth to a new people's revolution".

"BJP knows that it will not come to power again, due to this fear, it wants to remove the opposition leaders from the public by any means at the time of elections, arrest is just an excuse," he posted on X.

Pinarayi Vijayan, the chief minister of Kerala, said Kejriwal's arrest "outright vicious and part of a callous plot to silence all opposition voices just ahead of the general elections".

His counterpart in Tamil Nadu, M K Stalin, said: "Not a single BJP leader faces scrutiny or arrest, laying bare their abuse of power and the decay of democracy."

"The relentless persecution of opposition leaders by the BJP government smacks of a desperate witch-hunt. This tyranny ignites public fury, unmasking BJP's true colors," Stalin said.

In the past year or so, several opposition leaders have been imprisoned, questioned or had cases filed against them by federal agencies.

K Kavitha, leader of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), was arrested in the same case as Kejriwal just days ago. She denies the allegations.

In January, Hemant Soren, former Jharkhand chief minister and leader of the opposition Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), was arrested by a federal tax agency on charges of money laundering and land-grabbing. Mr Soren denies the allegations.

Gandhi himself was convicted of criminal libel last year after a complaint by a member of the BJP.

His two-year prison sentence saw him disqualified from parliament for a time until the verdict was suspended by a higher court in August last year.

On Thursday, the Congress party accused Modi's government of using the tax department to starve them of finances ahead of elections.

Since coming to power in Delhi in 2013, AAP secured significant victories in Punjab's state elections in 2022 and gained a few seats in Mr Modi's home state of Gujarat in the same year. — Agencies

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