Won’t resign because it will set precedent, give BJP free hand to target oppn CMs: Kejriwal


PTI, May 23, 2024, 4:46 PM IST

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said he won’t resign because it will set a precedent and give the BJP-led Central government a free hand to target opposition chief ministers, including Mamata Banerjee and M K Stalin. And this, he said, is very dangerous for democracy.

In an interview to PTI Videos on Wednesday, Kejriwal, who will have to go back to Tihar Jail after his interim bail ends on June 1, said he will approach the court to allow him to fulfil his duties as chief minister of Delhi from prison.

The AAP national convener was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on March 21 in connection with a money laundering case related to his government’s liquor excise policy. The BJP has been demanding his resignation since he has been arrested by the probe agency.

Kejriwal and his party have accused the BJP government of framing him, former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and other leaders in ”fake cases”.

”I worked in the slums of Delhi after resigning from the post of income tax commissioner. Nobody had asked for my resignation when I stepped down within 49 days (in 2013) after becoming the chief minister of Delhi. In a way, I kicked the chair of the chief minister while nobody gives up even a peon’s job,” he said.

”I did not resign as chief minister deliberately this time as it is part of my struggle.” Kejriwal said the Aam Aadmi Party got 67 assembly seats (in 2015) and 62 seats (in 2020), and added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi hatched a conspiracy to arrest him because he saw AAP cannot be defeated in elections in Delhi.

”He got me arrested so that I would resign and my government would topple. But I will not let his conspiracy succeed. This whole case (excise police scam case) is completely a fake case.

”Had I done anything wrong and got money, I would be very weak from inside and maybe I would go to the BJP and all my sins would be forgiven,” he said. He asserted that he had been kept in jail forcefully.

”If I resign, it will set such a precedent that they will arrest West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee someday and ask her to resign…they will also arrest Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Stalin and ask him to resign.

”So wherever BJP loses elections, the chief ministers of opposition-ruled states will be arrested,” Kejriwal said, adding that their governments would then be toppled, which is very dangerous for democracy.

According to the law, a person convicted with two years of sentencing cannot contest an MLA election, the AAP leader said.

He has not been convicted by any court yet, so he can contest the MLA election and become a minister or chief minister while being in jail, he added. ”… We will go to the court and urge it to provide facilities (in jail) in order to fulfil the responsibilities of the chief minister.” Hitting out at the BJP, the AAP national convener said they are indulging in ‘nautanki’ (drama) with the liquor scam case.

They have come up with a fake case in which Manish Sisodia, Sanjay Singh and he himself were jailed and are now saying AAP leader Atishi will also be sent to jail, he said.

”They (BJP) are saying it is a Rs 100 crore excise scam and for the last few weeks. they have started saying it is a Rs 1,100 crore scam. Where has all this money gone?. Was even a penny was recovered, any jewellery was recovered…there is no evidence. This case has been forged to arrest us,” he said.

Kejriwal also said petitions were filed in the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court for removing him. But the courts said they do not have any power to remove the chief minister.

On May 10, Kejriwal received interim bail from the Supreme Court to join his party’s campaign for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections until June 1, the last phase of the polls.

BJP leaders have said the bail he received was tantamount to ”special treatment” by the Supreme Court. However, the judges who granted Kejriwal bail have said they have ”not made any exception for anybody”.

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