Arvind Kejriwal: Arrest as corruption of democracy Indian opposition

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Chief Minister Kejriwal was arrested on Thursday in connection with the policies related to the sale of liquor in Delhi

Indian opposition leaders have strongly condemned the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Mr Kejriwal was arrested on Thursday in connection with allegations of corruption related to the city's policies on liquor sales.

Mr Kejriwal has denied any wrongdoing and challenged his arrest in the Supreme Court.

Opposition leaders alleged that his arrest was politically motivated.

But Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has denied the allegation and said it is working against corruption.

Mr Kejriwal's arrest by the Financial Crimes Agency, just weeks before India's general election, is a blow to the opposition. The Aam Aadmi Party is aiming to challenge the BJP in the 27-party All India Alliance.

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Rahul Gandhi called the arrest an attack on India's democratic principles

Referring to Mr Modi, Rahul Gandhi of the main opposition Congress party on Thursday evening X had earlier tweeted: “A scared dictator wants to create a dead democracy.”

“Arrests of elected Chief Ministers have become commonplace,” Mr Gandhi wrote.

Nationalist Congress Party (Sharachandra Pawar) president Sarath Pawar said Mr Kejriwal's arrest showed “the extent to which the BJP will stand for power”.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said Kejriwal's arrest would “give birth to a new people's revolution”.

“BJP knows that it will not come to power again, because of this fear, it is thinking of somehow removing the opposition leaders from the people at the time of elections, arrest is an excuse,” he posted on X.

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AAP supporters protested Mr Kejriwal's rally on Thursday evening

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Mr Kejriwal's arrest was “part of a serious conspiracy to silence all opposition voices ahead of the general elections”.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. K. Stalin has said that not a single BJP leader in Tamil Nadu faces investigation or arrest for exposing their abuse of power and degradation of democracy.

“The BJP government's incessant persecution of opposition leaders cuts across a desperate witch-hunt. This tyranny is fueling public anger and unmasking the true colors of the BJP,” Mr Stalin said.

Over the past year, several opposition leaders have been jailed, investigated or have cases filed against them by federal agencies.

Bharat Rashtra Samithi (PRS) leader K. Kavita was arrested in the same case as Mr. Kejriwal a few days ago. She denies the allegations.

In January, former Jharkhand Chief Minister and leader of the opposition Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) Hemant Soran was arrested by the federal tax agency on charges of money laundering and land grabbing. Mr Soren denies the allegations.

Gandhi himself was charged with criminal defamation last year following a complaint by a Bharatiya Janata Party member.

He was temporarily disqualified from Parliament until his two-year jail sentence was suspended by the High Court in August last year.

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Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Hemant Soran was arrested by the tax agency in January.

On Thursday, the Congress party accused Mr Modi's government of using the tax department to starve it of funds ahead of elections.

Mr Kejriwal is the third Aam Aadmi Party leader to be arrested in Delhi's now scrapped liquor policy corruption case.

The Enforcement Directorate also arrested Kejriwal's aide Manish Sisodia and Aam Aadmi Party's Sanjay Singh in the same case last year.

Since coming to power in Delhi in 2013, the Aam Aadmi Party has made significant gains in the 2022 Punjab state elections and won some seats in Mr Modi's home state of Gujarat in the same year.

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