Farmer suicide: Not calling off rally a mistake, says Kejriwal

Slamming media and opposition, the Delhi Chief Minister says debate had veered away from the “real issue” of plight of the farmers.

Updated - November 16, 2021 11:07 pm IST

Published - April 24, 2015 12:00 pm IST - New Delhi

Two days after a farmer from Rajasthan hanged himself from a tree in full public gaze at an AAP rally in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday apologised for not calling off the event and admitted that his making a speech was a “mistake”.

Under fire over his handling of the issue that has snowballed into a major controversy, the AAP leader also slammed the media and the opposition parties, saying that the debate had veered away from the “real issue” of the farmers’ plight.

“I was to deliver an hour-long speech but I wrapped it up in 10-15 mins. I think that was my mistake. Probably I should not have spoken. If that has hurt anynone’s sentiments I would like to apologise.

“I am guilty. Blame me. I feel the rally should have been called off. But please focus on the real issue of the farmers and desist from politicking. Whoever is guilty hang him but the focus of the debate should be on why the farmers are committing suicide,” Mr. Kejriwal told a news channel.

Seeking to play down his government’s face-off with the Delhi Police over the probe of the incident, Mr. Kejriwal said he was even ready to file his statement to the police if needed.

“District Magistrate has the jurisdiction to investigate under the CrPC and the police does criminal investigation based on FIR... if police calls me I will go to file my statement,” he said.

On Thursday, opposition members created ruckus in the Lok Sabha over the incident, leading to adjournment of proceedings even as the Centre said it was ready to discuss the matter.

Making his point against the AAP, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said the crowd gathered for the rally “clapped” and “raised slogans” as the farmer, Gajendra Singh, climbed up the tree and ended his life, prompting the party to accuse Mr. Singh of “lying”.

Many, including Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, sought a judicial probe to fix accountability, saying police are in a dock over the matter and they cannot probe themselves.

A judicial probe, Mr. Kharge said, was necessary as Mr. Kejriwal and the Delhi police, which reports to the MHA, had offered conflicting versions of the event.

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