INDIA bloc stands united behind Arvind Kejriwal

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge along with Parliamentary Party Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and party leader Rahul Gandhi (Photo Credit: ANI)

Opposition leaders question the timing of Mr. Kejriwal’s arrest, with elections just days away and on a day when ECI made the comprehensive electoral bond data public.

NEW DELHI (TIP): Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the second Chief Minister from the INDIA bloc to be arrested in the recent months, has united the anti-BJP coalition which has been struggling to set aside their differences over seat sharing arrangements for the Lok Sabha polls. The opposition leaders questioned the timing, with the Model Code of Conduct in place and the coincidence of it coming on the same day as Election Commission publishing the entire data on electoral bonds.
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Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and his predecessor Rahul Gandhi expressed their outrage without naming Mr. Kejriwal. Mr. Kharge, connecting Mr. Kejriwal’s arrest to the freezing of Congress party’s accounts, wrote on X that the BJP is trying to weaken the Opposition because though it is making false claims of victory each day, it is scared of the expected results.

Mr. Gandhi, in a similar vein, posted on X: “A scared dictator wants to create a dead democracy. If capturing all the institutions including the media, breaking up parties, extorting money from companies, freezing the accounts of the main opposition party was not enough for the “Asuri Shakti” (demonic power) now the arrest of the elected Chief Ministers has also become a common thing.”

Congress general secretary K.C. Venugopal called the arrest a “diversionary tactic” on a day when complete data on electoral bonds was released, which he said, will expose BJP’s “extortion racket”. Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said the Opposition is going into this election with its “hands and feet tied” and on a “playing field that is far from level”.

He posted on X: “If a Model Code of Conduct exists to prevent the government from taking decisions that could favor the ruling party, why would a similar code not apply to government departments like IT and ED, whose actions are directly interfering with the functioning of democracy?”

Senior Opposition leader and founder of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Sharad Pawar strongly denounced the ED’s action and said: “I strongly condemn the vindictive misuse of Central agencies to target the Opposition, especially as general elections loom. This arrest showcases the depth to which BJP will stoop for power. ‘INDIA’ stands united against this unconstitutional action against.”

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the latest arrest will only cement people’s desire to defeat the BJP, defend democracy and the Indian Constitution. “All Opposition leaders who defected and joined the BJP are protected and patronized,” he said. CPI general secretary D. Raja too called it a desperate action from the government. “They know the hollowness of their claims of 400 seats and that’s why the Opposition is being targeted by abusing Central agencies,” he said.

Senior Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’ Brien pointed out that the ED’s steps comes at a time when the Model Code of Conduct has just kicked in. Posting on X, he asked: “Earlier, his administrative powers were snatched through an illegal ordinance. How can we expect fair elections in India if sitting CMs & prominent opposition leaders are arrested weeks before polls? If SC & ECI fail to act now, who will stand with people against BJP’s oppressive politics in future?”

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