‘Be ready to go to jail’: Kejriwal tells AAP MLAs at party’s national convention
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal predicted that his deputy Manish Sisodia may be arrested soon and transport minister Kailash Gahlot may be targeted by the central agencies
A day after Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislator and Waqf Board chairperson Amanatullah Khan’s alleged aide Hamid Ali was arrested following the recovery of a pistol, some ammunition and ₹12 lakh from his residence, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said the person was not an aide to Khan, and alleged that the arrest was designed to frame the AAP leader at whose house nothing was found during the searches.
Kejriwal was speaking at a national convention at IGI stadium in Delhi, where along with all MLAs and MPs from Delhi, Punjab and Goa, AAP’s councillors, zila panchayat members, mayors, block pramukhs, sarpanchs and pradhans from across the country were also present.
The Delhi chief minister said that his deputy Manish Sisodia, who has been booked in the excise case, may be arrested in a similar manner. He predicted that transport minister Kailash Gahlot may also be targeted by the central agencies. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is already probing the alleged irregularities in the proposed procurement of 1,000 low floor AC buses by the transport department.
Kejriwal asked all AAP MLAs to be prepared to go to jail for 3-4 months. “Now they have planned to conduct raids against any Tom, Dick and Harry and if cash is recovered from them they will be branded as aides of Manish Sisodia and will arrest him,” he said, claiming that Sisodia is “very honest.”
The AAP chief claimed that minister Satyendar Jain, who has been in jail for the last three months in an alleged money laundering case, was instrumental in launching the electricity subsidy scheme, opening mohalla clinics and making hospitals better. He claimed that the prosecutors are unable to produce evidence against Jain in the court.
“They will put everyone in jail. Now raids will be conducted against Kailash Gahlot. Be prepared to go to jail for 3-4 months. Jail is not a bad place, I have been to jail for 15 days. If everyone has that power (to tolerate jail for 4 months), they cannot harm us. The BJP-led central government has bought 285 MLAs in the country so far. It spent ₹7,000-8,000 crore on poaching of MLAs,” said Kejriwal.
Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kejriwal said the Centre was trying to crush AAP because it was unable to digest the growing popularity of the AAP in Gujarat, which goes to the polls later this year.
Also Read | AAP appoints Raghav Chadha as Gujarat co-incharge
The first ever national convention is being held amid the AAP’s plans to go national riding on the wave of its electoral performance in Punjab where the party stormed to power defeating several veteran politicians in the border state. In the convention, the AAP is discussing its expansion across the country. “Issues raised by the public representatives will also be heard so that concrete initiatives can be taken to strengthen the organisation in that state”, said an AAP leader.
Later AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh moved a resolution against ‘Operation Lotus’ which is being discussed in the convention.
Opening the convention, Kejriwal compared AAP MLAs with freedom fighters. “They rejected ₹25 crore offer (to join the BJP) and they are not afraid of ED or CBI,” said Kejriwal.
Indirectly hitting out at PM Modi, Kejriwal said: “You talk about fighting corruption from the Red Fort, and you are doing corruption and openly buying MLAs by paying them several crores. This has been the biggest corruption since Independence,” said Kejriwal.
The AAP chief said that the BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’ has failed in Delhi. “They wanted to buy 40 MLAs by offering ₹20 crore to each one of them. We paraded the MLAs in the Assembly and proved that they are with us. They offered ₹25 to each MLA in Punjab, but failed again. Now they have started ‘Operation Lotus Phase II’…..they are warning the MLAs of the same fate as Amanatullah Khan if they do not join the BJP,” he alleged.
“They want to stop AAP. They have planned to crush us. With false allegations, 169 cases were lodged against AAP MLAs in Delhi, but conviction could not be made in a single case. The accused were acquitted in 135 cases, and 34 cases are pending. Hd there been even a single conviction we would have thought that something was wrong,” said Kejriwal.
The AAP chief also made a pitch for making the country a world leader and indirectly hit out at the central government over it. “Only giving speeches in foreign countries will not make India a world leader. Only when every child receives good education, India can become the No. 1 country of the world. I congratulated PM Narendra Modi on his plans to upgrade 14,500 government schools every year, but India has 10 lakh government schools, so it will take a long time. We have to fix all government schools in next five years, for which the country has adequate money, just the loot and corruption need to stop,” he said.
“Every person needs a job, women need safety and equal opportunity, farmers should get adequate price for their produce, and the country needs world class infrastructure to become No. 1,” he added.
The Delhi chief minister claimed that freebies do not lead to debt but corruption does. “The Opposition parties are unable to swallow it. Gujarat has 3.5 lakh crore debt, it never provided any freebies then how the state landed into such a huge debt? Any leader opposing freebies is corrupt. Delhi is providing multiple freebies but Delhi is not in debt,” he said.
Kejriwal said he does not understand the politics of alliance. “The day there is an alliance of 130 crore people of the country, no one can stop India from becoming No. 1 country in the world,” he said, urging people to give a missed call on 9510001000 to join the campaign launched by AAP to make India No. 1 country in the world.
The convention was thrown open on Sunday morning by Kejriwal. It will conclude with an address of Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann, who will be speaking from Germany. The convention comes weeks after the AAP alleged the BJP was trying to poach its MLAs by offering ₹20 crore to each one of them. BJP has rubbished the charges.
The AAP recently won multiple seats in local bodies polls in Madhya Pradesh and Assam. AAP leaders from Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu Kashmir, Haryana, Bihar, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir and several other places are attending the event.
Opening the convention, Kejriwal said the AAP, which was formed on 26 November 2012 has grown so fast. “In 20 states and union territories, the AAP has 1,446 elected public representatives including at the panchayat, zila panchayat levels besides two chief ministers. They are the seeds of the AAP in different states. These seeds will become fully grown trees like it has become in Delhi, Punjab. The trees are bearing fruits and providing shelter in Delhi and Punjab. The seeds will soon become tree in Gujarat. Never ever any party has grown like this in the history,” Kejriwal said.