Aam Aadmi Party MLA Sanjeev Jha was detained by Delhi Police on Saturday for trying to stage a hunger strike in front of the Civil Lines residence of suspended party member Kapil Mishra.
After being released, Jha shifted base and is on a hunger strike at Jantar Mantar.
Burari legislator Jha was taken into custody as he, along with about 30 supporters, went to protest outside Mishra’s residence without taking permission from the police.
After released by the police in the afternoon, Jha sat on the footpath of Under Hill road near Mishra’s house. By evening, he shifted his protest to Jantar Mantar, about which he tweeted, “My hunger strike is on. I will continue my hunger strike from Jantar Mantar.”
The development is the latest drama in the ongoing power struggle in Delhi’s ruling party, which was routed recently in the elections to the three Delhi municipal corporations.
The AAP also got drubbing in the assembly elections in Punjab and Goa, where the party had touted itself as major contenders for power.
The setback triggered intra-party squabbling that saw some party leaders even questioning personal integrity of party chief and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who came to power on anti-corruption plank.
Mishra is on a hunger strike at his residence for the past four days demanding that Kejriwal reveal the source of funding of the foreign trips of five AAP leaders — Sanjay Singh, Ashish Khetan, Satyendar Jain, Raghav Chadhha and Durgesh Pathak — in the last two years.
Mishra was removed as a Delhi minister and later suspended from the AAP after he levelled corruption charges against Kejriwal.
“Delhi police took no action when Kapil Mishra sat on a dharna, but when I tried the same it detained me. The police, the Centre and Mishra are hand-in-glove. I will continue my hunger strike against Mishra wherever the police takes me,” Jha said minutes before being taken away by the police in a bus.
Police said Jha and supporters were detained when they were marching towards Kapil Misha’s home to sit on a protest. “It is a preventive detention and they were kept at Sarai Rohilla police station,” a police officer said.
“One cannot be allowed to sit on a protest outside somebody’s house. Jha can sit on a hunger strike at his own house, like Mishra is doing. Jha was even given the option to stage his protest at Jantar Mantar. But he refused, following which he was detained,” the officer said.
Supporters accompanying Jha told HT that the police were fully prepared and had barricaded the road about 300 metres away from Mishra’s house.
Before coming to Civil Lines, Jha had gone to Rajghat to seek blessings.
Police officials said Jha did not have permission for the sit-in hunger strike. “He could have gone to Jantar Mantar or Rajghat to do the strike. Nobody would have stopped him,” a police officer said.