“I wanted to spend time on the border with the farmers today, not as a chief minister but as a sewadar [volunteer],” Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal told his party's members yesterday. “The Centre has been trying to stop me from going out for the last two days because they did not want me to go amongst the farmers and support them.”
Yesterday, the Aam Aadmi Party alleged that Kejriwal was put under “house arrest” by the Delhi police as farmer groups continued their protest against the Centre’s farm laws on the borders of Delhi. Kejriwal had gone to the Singhu border on Monday, December 7, to meet some of them. The AAP says the house arrest began after this interaction.
The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Delhi police that the AAP’s claims of house arrest are “totally baseless”, but the AAP is sticking to its guns. In a series of tweets, the party said there was “heavy” police presence outside Kejriwal’s house in Civil Lines, and that the entry and exit of people was “banned”.
Latest visuals from CM @ArvindKejriwal's residence.— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) December 8, 2020
Heavy police force deployed and have surrounded the residence of CM. Entry/exit of people has been banned.
But police is allowing BJP councillors to protest right in front of the gate. #BJPHouseArrestsKejriwal pic.twitter.com/61uThHcnV7
Yet, the party said, BJP councillors were allowed by the police to protest outside Kejriwal’s house — a protest against alleged to Delhi’s municipal corporations by the AAP government.
On its part, the BJP said there were “no restrictions” on entry to Kejriwal’s house, and that the barricades outside had always been there.
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Speaking to Newslaundry over the telephone, AAP leader Durgesh Pathak said, “If you look at the chain of events, since morning, all the MLAs, including deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, had to wait for 1.5 hours outside the chief minister’s residence. Usually once you reach the gate and give a message to the office, one is able to meet the chief minister.”
Pathak said he had a meeting with Kejriwal at 1 pm. At 12.30 pm, when he reached Kejriwal’s house, he said he wasn’t allowed to enter by the police.
The AAP said that Bhagwant Mann, an MP from Sangrur, was also not allowed to meet Kejriwal.
Naveen Kumar, a spokesperson for the BJP’s Delhi wing, contradicted the AAP’s version of events.
“How can the chief minister claim that he’s been under house arrest since the last two days?” Kumar said to Newslaundry. “He met the farmers at Singhu border, and later attended a wedding at Radisson Blu hotel at 8.30 pm the same day.” The BJP released from the hotel to back up their argument.
On the protest by BJP councillors outside Kejriwal’s home, Kumar said that the AAP’s 2019 budget allocated Rs 13,500 crore to the Delhi municipal corporations for purposes of disbursal. The BJP said this amount was not handed over; Kejriwal said Rs 12,000 crore is and that the BJP-run municipal corporations are plagued by “mismanagement and corruption”.
Yesterday, Kumar said, “around 20-25” councillors from the municipal corporations began protesting outside Kejriwal’s house from 11 am. “They have been requesting the chief minister to give time for a meeting since October 26,” he added. He pointed out that Kejriwal “chose not to meet” these councillors but instead, travelled 35 km to Singhu to meet the farmers.
The BJP has also cited Covid regulations in its attack on Kejriwal Kumar said the Delhi government’s guidelines do not allow gatherings of over 50 people, but “hordes” of AAP leaders had gathered outside Kejriwal’s house yesterday.
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