Delhi Minister Raaj Kumar Anand turns on Kejriwal as he quits AAP

Raaj Kumar Anand also took a swipe at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who is in Tihar jail after being remanded in judicial custody in an excise policy-linked money laundering case

Updated - April 10, 2024 10:50 pm IST

Published - April 10, 2024 06:14 pm IST - New Delhi

 Delhi Minister Raaj Kumar Anand speaks to the media after he resigned from the cabinet and quit the AAP, in New Delhi, on April 10, 2024

Delhi Minister Raaj Kumar Anand speaks to the media after he resigned from the cabinet and quit the AAP, in New Delhi, on April 10, 2024 | Photo Credit: PTI

Delhi Cabinet Minister Raaj Kumar Anand resigned as minister on April 10 and tendered his resignation from the Aam Aadmi Party. He said that the party he joined was born out of a movement against corruption. The same party was now stuck in the “quicksand of corruption”. He added that the AAP did not respect its Dalit MLAs, councillors and ministers. He did not indicate if he had plans of joining another party.

The AAP said that the party’s stand that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest was “nothing but a scheme by the BJP to use the Enforcement Directorate to break the party” was vindicated . Mr. Anand is the first prominent face of the AAP to resign from the party after Mr. Kejriwal was arrested on charges of corruption in the alleged Delhi liquor scam. The BJP reacted saying that Mr. Anand had answered the call of his own conscience and resigned.

CM betrayed us

Addressing the press at a restaurant in Connaught Place, Mr. Anand said “I entered politics when Mr. Kejriwal said that if its politics change, the country will change. But today, I say with regret that the politics did not change but the political leaders did.” On the AAP’s treatment of Dalit leaders, he said, “They put Ambedkar’s picture in every office but do not follow his ideals. None of the AAP’s 13 MPs is a Dalit or someone from the backward community.”

He added that the AAP does not have the moral right to continue in government any longer and he did not want his name to be associated with “corruption” after the High Court on Tuesday refused to give Mr. Kejriwal any respite from his arrest.

Mr. Anand who was the Minister for Social Welfare and held several other portfolios was under the ED scanner. He faced raids and searches on November 2, 2023, as part of investigations under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 against him and several of his associates.

On November 3, the ED said: “Evidence relating to unaccounted business investments and hawala payments sent to China during 2023 were recovered from key employees of Raaj Kumar Anand. Cash amounting to Rs. 74 lakh and various incriminating documents/digital records were seized.”

Anand was raided

Delhi minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said the party believes that Mr. Anand may have been threatened to make him quit the AAP. “We have repeatedly asserted that the intention behind arresting Arvind Kejriwal was to break the party and the governments of Delhi and Punjab. Many of our colleagues will feel that we hate Mr. Anand and will call him dishonest and cheater. We will not say any such thing. Not everyone is Sanjay Singh. I believe that he was scared,” Mr. Bharadwaj said. Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said that the BJP that called Mr. Anand corrupt when the ED was conducting raids would soon welcome him with garlands.

Mr. Anand, MLA from Patel Nagar, was inducted into the Delhi Cabinet in 2022 after Seemapuri MLA Rajendra Pal Gautam another Dalit face of the party resigned as Minister after a controversy erupted over an event at which over 10,000 people repeated 22 vows that BR Ambedkar had administered to his followers in 1956 while Mr. Gautam was on stage. The BJP said one of the vows stated that they “will not pray to Hindu Gods and Goddesses”. Mr. Gautam while tendering his resignation said the BJP had a problem with him following the teachings of Ambedkar and was playing dirty politics and hence, he did not wish that the AAP and Mr. Kejriwal are harmed in any way.

Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva said that Mr. Anand’s resignation is the “beginning of the end of a story in which the people of Delhi were misled.”

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