Kejriwal's arrest: AAP calls for nationwide protest against BJP; Rahul Gandhi to meet CM's family

The petition filed by AAP in the Supreme Court against the arrest will be heard today

PTI03_22_2024_000003B Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal being taken to the Enforcement Directorate office in an excise policy-linked money laundering case, in New Delhi | PTI

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) called for a nationwide protest against the BJP on Friday to protest Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the money laundering case connected to the Delhi excise policy scam.

This comes as the Supreme Court will hear the petition filed by Kejriwal against the arrest. The Delhi High Court had refused to grant any interim relief after he challenged the ED's summons.

While calling for a protest, AAP leader Gopal Rai termed Kejriwal's arrest as the "murder of democracy" and an "announcement of dictatorship". "I appeal to the countrymen to protest outside BJP offices across the country against this dictatorship. We will gather at the AAP office at 10 am on Friday and then protest outside the BJP headquarters," Rai, a minister in the Delhi government, told party workers.

"If Kejriwal can be arrested, anyone can be arrested and their voice can be suppressed. From today, the fight has begun. Arvind Kejriwal is not a person, but an ideology," he added.

The AAP leader also pinned the ED action on BJP's fears that it would not only fail to get 400 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls but would only be restricted to 40 seats. "Today, they have crossed all limits. All of you will go home tonight. I appeal to Delhiites to join the fight," the minister said. 

Just after the arrest, the AAP workers protested outside the south Mumbai office of the Enforcement Directorate on Thursday.

Besides Rai, Delhi ministers Atishi, Rai and the AAP's Rajya Sabha MP Sandeep Pathak too hit out at BJP. "This is no longer a fight between the BJP and the AAP. This is a fight between the country's people and the BJP. This is no longer a fight of the AAP but a fight of all those who want clean politics in the country," Pathak said. 

On the plea before the top court, Atishi said Kejriwal's fight will continue from the "roads to the court". "The Supreme Court will hear the case on Friday. This arrest is unconstitutional. They arrested (former Jharkhand chief minister) Hemant Soren, and Arvind Kejriwal and froze the accounts of Congress," she said. 

Despite the petition being moved, no special bench was set up on Thursday night to hear Kejriwal's plea.

AAP protest Josekutty Police removing AAP workers who blocked the roads to protest the arrest of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal | Josekutty Panackal

Meanwhile, reports are that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will arrive at Kejriwal's home in Delhi to offer further legal assistance, ANI quoted sources. 

Just after his arrest, Rahul had reached out to Kejriwal's family and assured them of his and the Congress party's support. The former Congress President had taken to X to offer his support. 

"A scared dictator wants to create a dead democracy," Gandhi said in a post in Hindi on X. "While capturing all the institutions, including the media, breaking up parties, extorting money from companies, freezing the accounts of the main opposition party were not enough for the 'devilish power', now the arrest of elected chief ministers has also become a common thing," he said.

"INDIA will give a befitting reply to this," the former Congress chief added.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge claimed that the "arrogant" Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is making false claims of an electoral victory every day and trying to weaken the opposition by indulging in "illegal means" ahead of the polls.

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