Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said that anybody from the Aam Admi Party (AAP) can be jailed under false charges as the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP). Further attacking the saffron party, he said that the party fears defeat in the upcoming Gujarat elections.
This comes a day after CBI arrested Vijay Nair, AAP's communications in-charge, in connection with the Delhi excise policy case in which Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has also been accused.
Kejriwal claimed that the CBI arrested Nair after he refused to buckle under the agency's pressure to give a false statement against Sisodia to implicate him in the excise policy "scam". Nair was arrested for his alleged role in "cartelisation" and "conspiracy" related to alleged irregularities in the allocation of liquor licenses in the capital, according to sources.
Slamming the BJP-led Centre over Nair's arrest, Kejriwal charged, "They are extremely rattled and have gone crazy as the (popularity) graph of the Aam Aadmi Party in Gujarat is rising each day at a very fast pace. People of Gujarat are coming out in the streets and openly criticising them (BJP)."
The AAP national convenor claimed that Nair had nothing to do with the alleged liquor policy scam but was arrested by the CBI as he refused to give in to their pressure to give a false statement against Sisodia in order to implicate him in the case. First, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain was arrested, then AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan and now Nair on "completely false" charges, Kejriwal said. "Next week, they are going to arrest Sisodia. If they can arrest a small party worker like Nair, they can arrest anybody," he said.
Kejriwal accused the BJP-led Centre of "hatching a conspiracy 24X7" to frame AAP leaders in false cases, fearing their defeat in the upcoming Gujarat assembly elections. The BJP-led government at the Centre is engaged in playing "dirty politics" and wasting their time, instead of providing relief to the people of the country from the problems like price rise and unemployment, he added. "Nair was a small party worker and took care of the party's communications-related work. He did very well in Punjab and was currently engaged in preparing the party's communications strategy for Gujarat.
"The CBI, which was calling and questioning him for the past few days, was putting pressure on him to name Sisodia in the case," he charged. "But, he is a true worker of the AAP. He refused to lie. Hence, they arrested him," he added. Kejriwal said the AAP is fighting "a second battle" for India's freedom and exhorted his party leaders and workers to remain prepared to go to jail and even make "supreme sacrifices", taking inspiration from iconic freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.
"This is the second battle for freedom. Bhagat Singh had fought for India's freedom from British/ We have to fight for the country's freedom from those looting it and purchasing MLAs openly," Kejriwal said. "In the past 75 years, first one party looted the country and now another party is looting it. We have to save the country from them," he said in a veiled reference to the Congress regime in past and that of the BJP at present.
(With inputs from PTI)