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Jammu KashmirDelhi CM Kejriwal’s arrest ‘blot on democracy’: Oppn parties

Delhi CM Kejriwal’s arrest ‘blot on democracy’: Oppn parties


Srinagar, Mar 22: Opposition parties in Jammu and , including the PDP and the NC, on Friday described Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's arrest as a “blot on democracy” and said it will “dent” the country's image across the .


The BJP, however, termed as “right” the decision of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to arrest the Aam Aam Party (AAP) national convener in the Delhi excise policy-linked money laundering case.


“This is the right decision. Whether a person is a chief minister or not. The ED had summoned him nine times. The high court rejected his bail application yesterday. It has been proven that he is involved in the scam,” BJP J-K general secretary (organisation) Ashok Koul said.


National Conference (NC) vice president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah asserted that his party stands with Kejriwal and the AAP, and said this arrest shows the “remarkable degree of nervousness” in the ruling party — the BJP which is in power at the Centre.


“'Aisi Taisi Democracy'. For all the talk of 400+ seats, the ruling dispensation is displaying a remarkable degree of nervousness. Having a sitting opposition chief minister arrested by a pliable central agency within days of the general elections being announced is a blot on democracy,” Abdullah said in a post on X.


Later, speaking to reporters here, he claimed that Kejriwal's arrest was clearly linked to the elections.


“Within days of the EC (Election Commission) announcing the dates for the Lok Sabha polls, you see that the sitting chief minister and an important part of the opposition alliance has been arbitrarily arrested by the ED,” he said.


The AAP, the NC and the People's Democratic Party (PDP) are members of the bloc, an alliance of some opposition parties to counter the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls. The Congress, the DMK, the TMC and the JMM the Samajwadi Party are also its constituents.


PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, who is also a former chief minister of J-K, said that “the arbitrary arrest of yet another chief minister by ED reeks of political vendetta and growing authoritarianism”.


“This cowardly act has exposed fears of the ruling party now resorting to desperate measures by manipulating elections even before they are held. History has shown that tyranny never prevails in the face of unified resistance. We will not be intimidated,” she said on X.


Former Jharkhand chief minister and JMM leader Hemant Soren was also arrested by the ED in January in a money laundering case after he resigned from his post


The NC leader said Kejriwal is not the first opposition leader to face ED action.


“Some weeks ago, the sitting CM of Jharkhand was also in a similar position. His deputy chief minister was also arrested last year, others also. This is just unfortunately a part of a process whereby democratic institutions in this country have gradually been eroded to a point that they almost now cease to exist,” he said.


Abdullah said whether the country realises the “threat that our democracy faces, only time will tell, but, the legacy that this government would leave is extremely unfortunate for the country”.


Talking to reporters, Mehbooba said the arrest is condemnable.


“The law states that the culprit should be behind the bars and an innocent person should be free. But, since the BJP came to power, all corrupt persons and culprits join the BJP and their sins are forgiven, they become clean,” she said.


The PDP chief alleged that the BJP wants to finish the opposition.


“They are talking about crossing 400 seats, I think they will not even cross 200 seats. They also froze bank accounts of the Congress, they want to finish the opposition before the elections. So, it is highly condemnable,” she said.


She alleged that the EC was behaving as the “BJP's B team”.


Senior CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami said, “In J-K, democracy was locked up much before, but now it seems that the democracy in our country, which is famous as the largest democracy in the world, has been locked up. This will be a loss for the country, it will dent the country's image across the world,” he told PTI .


He said the BJP was resorting to such tactics as the party was not sure of its electoral victory in the general elections.


“Another CM was arrested before this. Many ministers of Delhi are in custody. It looks that the government does not see the prospects of its winning and forming the government again. That is why they have panicked,” he added.


The CPI(M) leader said the government is using central agencies such as the ED and the Income Tax Department to suppress the opposition.


Asked whether the arrest was a tactic before the Lok Sabha polls, NC leader Abdullah said it was not something new. “This has been going on for many years. There is no party left now which opposes the BJP and has not been targeted like this. This is a small part of the new democracy that has been established in our country in the last few years,” he said.


Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference led by Sajad Lone said the party does not support Kejriwal;'s arrest.


“We don't support his arrest though!” party spokesman Adnan Ashraf Mir said on X, while referring to Kejriwal's post supporting the Centre's decision on August 5, 2019, when Article 370, which granted special status to the erstwhile state of J-K was revoked.


The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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