1 Nov 2023

Delhi Liquor Policy case: Can Kejriwal be arrested? Is AAP’s future in jeopardy? What options has AAP now?

New Delhi: In a recent development, Delhi former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia's bail plea in the money laundering case linked to Delhi Government's previous excise policy has been rejected. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has also summoned Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for questioning regarding the same excise policy, with his appearance scheduled for November 2. Concerns have arisen within the AAP, with leader and minister Atishi expressing apprehension about a potential arrest.

The potential arrest of Arvind Kejriwal after his interrogation on November 2 could pose a substantial threat to the Aam Aadmi Party, given that many of its prominent leaders are already in custody. In such a scenario, the party's options would be limited, and its future would be uncertain.

Centre aims to undermine AAP: Saurabh Bhardwaj

The party's spokesperson, Saurabh Bhardwaj, contends that the Central government aims to undermine the Aam Aadmi Party. For some time now, various central government agencies have been targeting the party.

AAP leader Sandeep Pathak accused the BJP of removing Kejriwal by "any means".
"The only aim of BJP and PM Narendra Modi is to remove CM Arvind Kejriwal by any means. First, they did it through legal means. They tried first in Delhi and then in Punjab, but failed again. And when AAP entered Gujarat, they could not deal with it," he said.

Notably, three ministers from the Delhi Aam Aadmi Party government, Satyendar Jain, Manish Sisodia, and Sanjay Singh, have already been arrested in cases related to the Delhi Liquor Policy. With the recent ED summons to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, there is a growing fear that he too may face arrest. The AAP believes that it is the only political force capable of posing a formidable challenge to Narendra Modi's BJP and, consequently, it is facing undue harassment.

With key party leaders like Satyendra Jain, Manish Sisodia, and Sanjay Singh incarcerated, and now the looming possibility of Arvind Kejriwal's arrest, there is a genuine concern that the Aam Aadmi Party could be marginalized. Sources suggest that ED has substantial evidence against Arvind Kejriwal that could lead to his arrest. 

Such an event could severely weaken the Aam Aadmi Party, and although potential successors like Sunita Kejriwal, Saurabh Bhardwaj, or Atishi could be considered for the position of Chief Minister, they might not possess the same leadership capabilities. Consequently, the Aam Aadmi Party's future could be in jeopardy if Arvind Kejriwal is arrested.

BJP aims to politically assassinate Kejriwal: AAP

Party leaders allege that the BJP aims to politically assassinate Arvind Kejriwal and destroy the Aam Aadmi Party, raising questions about the strength of these allegations. Is the BJP adopting an aggressive stance against the Aam Aadmi Party because it perceives it as its most significant rival?

Furthermore, the ongoing case related to the Delhi Excise Policy has drawn attention due to the absence of evidence concerning a "money trail." Both the CBI and ED have yet to produce such evidence.

AAP is helping BJP by fielding candidates

Is the BJP's aggressiveness towards the Aam Aadmi Party driven by the perception that it is a formidable adversary? It is noteworthy that in states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the AAP has helpedthe BJP by fielding candidates, even though it lacks a significant support base in those regions. Paradoxically, this assistance to the BJP appears to hurt the Aam Aadmi Party, despite indirectly benefiting the BJP.

The Aam Aadmi Party contends that the same liquor policy it implemented in Delhi is also being followed in Haryana, raising questions about why the Modi government is targeting only AAP. Analysts suggest that the Aam Aadmi Party should provide evidence rather than solely claiming that it is being unfairly targeted by the Modi government.

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