CM should not step down, AAP MLAs, councillors tell Sunita Kejriwal at meeting

In their first meeting since Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest, AAP’s elected representatives say CM must continue to run govt. from jail; BJP seeks his resignation, says national capital deserves better

April 03, 2024 12:58 am | Updated 12:58 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Sunita Kejriwal read out a message from the CM, saying he was proud of AAP leaders who had stood by their Opposition colleagues in the mega Opposition rally on Sunday.

Sunita Kejriwal read out a message from the CM, saying he was proud of AAP leaders who had stood by their Opposition colleagues in the mega Opposition rally on Sunday. | Photo Credit: File Photo

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s wife, Sunita Kejriwal, met party MLAs and councillors at the Chief Minister’s residence on Tuesday.

This was the first meeting of the party’s elected representatives since the AAP chief’s arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on March 21.

The BJP questioned Mr. Kejriwal’s insistence on continuing to occupy the Chief Minister’s post despite being sentenced to jail and said Delhi’s residents deserve a better Chief Minister who could provide them with an honest and transparent government.

A Delhi court on Monday sent Mr. Kejriwal to judicial custody till April 15 in connection with a money laundering case linked to AAP government’s now-scrapped excise policy in Delhi. He is lodged in Tihar Jail. Addressing the media outside Mr. Kejriwal’s residence, senior party leader and Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said AAP members had discussed the pressure being exerted on the Chief Minister to resign and that those present at the meeting wanted Mr. Kejriwal “not to resign at any cost”.

He said 55 MLAs and councillors present at the meeting had assured Ms. Kejriwal of their support and urged her to convey to the AAP chief that he must continue to run the government from jail.

When asked whether the party was considering replacing the CM with his wife, Mr. Bharadwaj said, “These are baseless rumours spread by the BJP, which has been waiting to come into power in Delhi for almost 25 years.”

He added that Ms. Kejriwal read out a message from the CM, saying he was proud of AAP leaders who had stood by their colleagues in the Indian National Developmental, Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc in the mega Opposition rally at Ramlila Maidan on Sunday.

“The Chief Minister said that the rally gave a clear message that as long as he is in jail, the problems for the BJP will keep increasing,” Mr. Bharadwaj said.

A party leader said four MLAs could not attend the meeting as they were not in the city and that the remaining three MLAs — Mr. Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, and Satyendar Jain — were in jail. AAP has 62 out of 70 MLAs in the Assembly.

‘Double standards’

Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia accused Mr. Kejriwal of “double standards”. He said the Delhi Chief Minister took the resignations of Mr. Sisodia and Mr. Jain after they were sent to jail, but had refused to resign from the Cabinet himself.

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