The chief minister claimed that there is no scam in excise policy and it is an excuse to stall the good work being done in the national capital
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. File Photo
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of attempting to sabotage his government's work in education and health sectors through the arrest of Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain and asserted that Aam Aadmi Party leaders Atishi and Saurabh Bhardwaj who will be inducted into his Cabinet will perform with double the speed.
"If Manish Sisodia joins BJP today, won't he be released tomorrow," Kejriwal said and targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his first remarks after Sisodia and Jain who have been arrested on charges of corruption resigned from the cabinet.
The people who brought laurels for the country from across the world were put behind bars by Prime Minister Modi, the AAP supremo alleged. The chief minister claimed that there is no scam in excise policy and it is an excuse to stall the good work being done in the national capital.
"But, I assure the people of Delhi that this will not happen. The Aam Aadmi Party is a storm. We will be unstoppable and our time has come," Kejriwal said.
Meanwhile, the BJP and Congress held protests, demanding that Kejriwal step down as chief minister.
The opposition BJP had been demanding the resignation of Jain after his arrest in May last year by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case. Sisodia too faced the heat after his name cropped up in the excise policy scam in August 2022. He was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Sunday in connection with alleged corruption in the formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped liquor policy for 2021-22.
The Aam Aadmi Party said it will launch a door-to-door campaign from March 5 under which all MLAs will apprise people about the "false cases" registered against Sisodia and Jain. The decision was taken at a meeting called by Kejriwal with AAP MLAs and councillors. Earlier in the day, Kejriwal recommended the names of party MLAs Atishi and Saurabh Bhardwaj to Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena for their appointment to the Cabinet.
Atishi, a key member of Sisodia's education team, will become the first woman minister in the Kejriwal government. She represents the Kalkaji constituency. Bhardwaj, who is also the party's national spokesperson, is currently serving the Delhi Jal Board as its vice chairman. The legislator from Greater Kailash was also a minister during the first stint of the AAP government.
Saxena forwarded the resignation letters of Sisodia and Jain to President Droupadi Murmu.
Addressing a press conference after the meeting with party MLAs and councillors, Kejriwal asserted that not only AAP, but the whole country is proud of Jain and Sisodia.
Also read: Congress demands Delhi CM Kejriwal's resignation, stages protest near AAP office
They have brought fame to the country across the world, he said, adding that Jain gave the model of mohalla clinics in primary healthcare to the entire world.
Sisodia transformed government schools and even the wife of the then US president Donald Trump came to see them in 2020. "Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to stop the good work being done in Delhi. But I want to tell people that the work will happen at double speed. Atishi and Saurabh Bhardwaj, who will soon join the Cabinet, are educated people who will carry on the good work at double the speed," Kejriwal said.
On whether there will be a deputy chief minister, Kejriwal said, "If the need arises, we shall see."
The BJP held protests both on the ground and online, with a series of tweets and a running hashtag in Hindi -- "#Thekedar_Kejriwal_Istifa_Do". Many banners that bore slogans like "Sharab Ghotale ke Sargana Kejriwal -- Istifa Do, Istifa Do (Liquor scam kingpin Kejriwal should resign)" were put up.
Delhi BJP's working president Virendra Sachdeva said that if, according to Kejriwal, his ministers were "innocent", why did the Supreme Court not give them any relief and their resignations were accepted.
Several Congress leaders and workers, led by their Delhi unit president Anil Chaudhary, gathered near AAP's DDU Marg office and raised slogans against Kejriwal and Sisodia. The party said a fair probe would not be possible as long as Arvind Kejriwal remains in power.
On Tuesday, Delhi's Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot was given the additional charge of finance and power while Social Welfare Minister Raaj Kumar Anand will be handling education and health departments till new ministers are appointed in the Cabinet.
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