Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and 51 AAP legislators were detained Sunday morning on way to the Prime Minister’s residence to protest the arrest of a party lawmaker and alleged targeting of Delhi government by the Centre.
The MLAs were detained for violating prohibitory orders that were clamped around 7 RCR, the official residence of the Prime Minister, where they were planning to “surrender” to Narendra Modi.
“All the MLAs including Sisodia have been detained and taken to the Tughlaq Road police station,” deputy commissioner of police Jatin Narwal said, setting the stage for another round of confrontation between the AAP and the BJP-ruled Centre.
The AAP leaders were taken to the Parliament Street police station from Tughlaq Road, which is close to Race Course Road.
They were released around four hours later.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had in the morning announced the latest offensive against Modi, who he had a day earlier accused of unleashing “emergency” following the dramatic arrest of Mohaniya.
Sisodia would “surrender to PM” after some vegetable vendors lodged a complaint against the deputy CM, accusing him of intimidation. “Complaint filed against Manish Sisodia yesterday. Manish will go to 7, RCR today to surrender himself before PM,” the Delhi CM said.
Complaint filed against Manish Sisodia yesterday. Manish will go to 7, RCR today to surrender himself before PM pic.twitter.com/M6hbzksWDO— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) June 26, 2016
Sisodia, too, took on the PM. “Modi ji, you have got us arrested and keeping us in Parliament (Street) police station. We are ready to go to Tihar but don’t stop us from working for people of Delhi,” he tweeted minutes after detention.
The Aam Aadmi Party and the BJP-ruled Centre have been at loggerheads over issues ranging from policing, transfers and appointments and law-making ever since AAP swept to power in Delhi in February 2015. The party has 67 lawmakers in the 70-member house.
Some traders operating illegally had threatened to lodge a complaint against him when he conducted a surprise check at Ghazipur market, Sisodia said on Saturday. He was sure that Modi “would arrange for his arrest by getting the complaint changed” to that of extortion, violence and sexual harassment, Sisodia tweeted.
The Ghazipur fruit and vegetable traders’ association president in a letter said Sisodia adopted a “dictatorial attitude” and he was worried that he might act against him, said SBK Singh special commissioner of police (law and order). “No police action is made out in the matter,” he said.
Mohaniya was picked up from the middle of press conference on Saturday on charges of intimidation and sexual harassment after a group of women from his constituency lodged a complaint against him.
The women claimed they had gone to Mohaniya, who is also the vice-president of the Delhi Jal Board, to complain about poor water supply in Neb Sarai area but were assaulted.
Ordered in jail till Monday by the Saket court, Mohaniya is the eighth AAP MLA to be arrested since February 2015.
AAP said the arrest was an attempt to divert attention from the murder of a civic body legal adviser. The party has alleged the involvement of senior BJP leaders and also pointed fingers at lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung in the shooting death of MM Khan.
Kejriwal has been pushing for complete statehood for the national capital that would give the local government the control of police and more decision-making powers. “After UK referendum, Delhi will soon have a referendum on full statehood,” he said Friday.
(with agency inputs)