Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has accused the BJP of attempting to sabotage his government’s work in the health and education sectors through the arrest of his deputy Manish Sisodia. The liquor scam, he declared, “is an excuse” and if Manish Sisodia joins the BJP, “he would be free by tomorrow”.
“Corruption is not the issue. The motive was to stop the good work done by the ministers,” Mr Kejriwal said in his first interaction with the media since Mr Sisodia’s arrest.
Mr Sisodia, the face of AAP government’s work in health and education, was arrested on Sunday in connection with the alleged liquor scam. He has been named as the accused number one in the case. He has already stepped down as minister. The 18 portfolios he was handling have been divided up between two of the remaining five ministers.
“The BJP wants to stop AAP. Ever since we won Punjab, they can’t stand us,” Mr Kejriwal said.
Pointing out that AAP’s best work has been in the education and health sectors, Mr Kejriwal said Manish Sisodia as the education minister transformed the entire education model. Satyendar Jain gave Delhi the Mohalla clinics.
“They have done India proud,” Mr Kejriwal said, drawing a contrast with the BJP governments in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and elsewhere, where “they could not fix a school or hospital” even after so many years.
“I assure the people of Delhi that this will not happen. Delhi’s good work will continue and with greater pace,” he said.
Since Mr Sisodia’s arrest, AAP has been flagging a conspiracy theory, alleging that BJP has unleashed the Central agencies on their leaders to trash Mr Sisodia’s achievements and undo the work by the Delhi government.
Since Mr Sisodia’s arrest, AAP has been flagging a conspiracy theory, alleging that BJP has unleashed the Central agencies on their leaders to trash his achievements and undo the work by the Delhi government.
The BJP has been on the attack mode ever since Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena filed a complaint alleging irregularities in the now-withdrawn excise policy of 2021.
After Mr Sisodia's arrest, the party had called him the "liquor minister" and accused him of not having any "moral compass" -- a series of attacks that have been seen as a strike at AAP's anti-corruption credentials. The key leaders of AAP, including Mr Kejriwal and Mr Sisodia, were active members of Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement that was instrumental in ending the Congress rule in Delhi and the UPA tenure in the country.
Mr Kejriwal on Wednesday said despite the BJP allegations, the Central agencies have been unable to find any money in Mr Sisodia’s house or his bank accounts.
“A man who does ₹ 100 crore deals, gets a few lakh rupees just like that. But even ₹ 10,000 was not found at Manish Sisodia’s house. No jewellery was found,” Mr Kejriwal said. “Now the Aam Aadmi Party will go door-to-door and explain it to the people, who are already infuriated about this,” he added.