AAP’s second in-command, Manish Sisodia, arrested; party workers to hold nationwide protest

AAP’s second in-command, Manish Sisodia, arrested; party workers to hold nationwide protest

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has warned of nationwide protests today over the arrest of Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in the Delhi liquor policy case.

While forces have been deployed at several spots in the national capital ahead of Sisodia’s arrest, including the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) headquarters where Sisodia is being held, security has been heightened outside the India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party‘s (BJP) headquarters in New Delhi’s Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, where AAP workers are expected to protest in large numbers.

Ahead of Sisodia’s arrest, several AAP leaders were arrested and released a little after 1pm on Monday, February 27th. The detained — 42 men and eight women — included members of the Parliament (MP) Sanjay Singh and Gopal Rai, members of the legislative assembly (MLA) Rohit Kumar Mehraulia, Dinesh Mohnia, Kuldeep Singh and ex-MLA Sarita Singh.

Sisodia faces corruption charges for his alleged role in bringing a new liquor sale policy in the national capital. The CBI has claimed that liquor companies were involved in framing the 2021 policy, for which kickbacks to the tune of Rs 300m were allegedly paid by a liquor lobby dubbed as the “South Group”.

Sisodia, who heads 18 departments, was arrested after being questioned for over eight hours on Monday. Before being arrested, he met AAP MPs Raghav Chaddha, Sanjay Singh and Saurabh Bharadwaj at Rajghat before making an emotional appeal to party workers gathered outside to take care of his ailing wife, who is alone now.

“I might have to go to jail for about seven-eight months. I don’t fear going to jail, my only worry is for my wife, who is not doing well these days. You all have to take care of her…” was his message.

Sisodia, who is often credited for being the man behind AAP’s education model and the force behind the makeover of government schools in Delhi, had a message for schoolchildren as well.

“I want to tell you all that your chacha ji (uncle) is going to jail, but it doesn’t mean it’s a holiday for you. I may be in jail for seven-eight months, but I will be getting all the updates about your performance. Don’t trouble your parents, get good marks, and make our schools proud. Do not make your Manish chacha suffer in jail; study hard. Otherwise, I will stop eating,” he reportedly said.

Meanwhile AAP president and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted his support for Sisodia while lambasting the BJP for vendetta politics.

Kejriwal alleged that the government (BJP-led Union government) is pushing a minister who has been one of the chief architects of providing education to the poor children while maintaining cordial ties with billionaires accused of major corruption. His comment appeared as an indirect attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s alleged ties with Gautam Adani, the world’s former third-richest man now accused of a major stock market scam. Kejriwal promised Sisodia to look after his family during his imprisonment.

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