Lok Sabha polls: AAP continues to battle amid crisis | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Lok Sabha polls: AAP continues to battle amid crisis

Apr 11, 2024 09:49 AM IST

Delhi social welfare minister Raaj Kumar Anand on Wednesday resigned from his post as a minister and also from AAP accusing the party of corruption

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has governments in both Delhi and Punjab, is in the middle of a crisis ahead of upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Convenor Arvind Kejriwal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on March 21 with the courts refusing his early release.

With both top leaders, Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia in jail, another minister has quit the party. (Representative file photo)
With both top leaders, Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia in jail, another minister has quit the party. (Representative file photo)

With both top leaders, Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia in jail, another minister has quit the party.

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Delhi minister leaves AAP

Delhi social welfare minister Raaj Kumar Anand on Wednesday resigned from his post as a minister and also from AAP accusing the party of corruption. This spelt more trouble for the party whose convener and Delhi chief minister Kejriwal is in jail in connection with the alleged liquor policy case.

“The party was born to fight corruption but today the party itself is mired in corruption. I can’t work in this government, and I don’t want my name to be associated with this corruption,” the minister said.

Anand’s residence was raided in November 2023 in a money laundering case by ED not connected to the liquor probe. Hours before his resignation, Anand on social media shared AAP MP Sanjay Singh’s press conference.

“I came to politics and then became a minister because of Babasaheb Ambedkar. I wanted to pay back to society. I do not want to be in a party that takes a backseat as far as Dalit representation is concerned,” Anand said.

The resignation came at a time when Delhi minister Atishi claimed that the BJP was trying to finish the Aam Aadmi Party adding that she was also approached by the BJP. While her comments drew flak with the BJP disputing them and suing her for her statements, Anand said he won’t be joining any other party.

No urgent hearing in SC on Kejriwal

Less than 24 hours after the Delhi high court denied his request terming the arrest as illegal, Kejriwal hurried to the Supreme Court on Wednesday morning but could not get an urgent hearing to challenge the ruling which held that ED possesses adequate evidence at this stage to suggest Kejriwal’s involvement in money laundering related to the Delhi excise policy case.

Senior counsel Abhishek Singhvi, representing the AAP convener, made a request before Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud for an urgent hearing on Wednesday itself. The urgency stemmed from the impending closure of the Supreme Court for the remainder of the week due to Eid.

BJP, DMK’s war of words over corruption

Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin on Wednesday launched a scathing attack at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the latter would be the right choice to become the “chancellor of the university of corruption”. The harsh remark came hours after PM Modi accused Stalin’s party DMK of being corrupt.

On Wednesday, at a rally in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore, PM Modi had accused DMK of corruption. He also took a swipe at MK Stalin’s family.

“DMK has first copyright on corruption, entire family looting Tamil Nadu...DMK wants to keep Tamil Nadu trapped in old thinking, old politics, the whole DMK has become a company of a family. Due to DMK’s family politics, the youth of Tamil Nadu are not getting a chance to move ahead. There are three main criteria to contest elections from DMK and move ahead in DMK. Three main criteria are-family politics, corruption and anti-Tamil culture,” he said.

Congress chief writes to President over Sainik Schools

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday wrote to President Droupadi Murmu on the decision to operate Sainik Schools in partnership mode with NGOs and private schools, saying it was a blatant attempt to politicise the independent schools and should be rolled back.

In a letter to President Murmu, Kharge cited a recent media report that said 62% of the 40 memorandum of understanding (MoU) finalised in this context were signed with entities belonging to the RSS-BJP-Sangh Parivar including a chief minister’s family, MLAs, BJP office-bearers and RSS leaders. Kharge, who is also the leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, stressed this was in violation of the long-held convention of keeping the armed forces and its affiliate institutions away from any partisan politics and shadows of varying political ideologies.

Kharge demanded “a complete rollback of this privatisation policy and annulment of these MoUs, so that children studying at Armed Forces Schools retain desired character, vision and honour required for the service of the nation.”

In a statement on April 3, the defence ministry said the insinuation that the new Sainik Schools were being allocated to institutions based on their political or ideological affiliations was unfounded.

Can Tejashwi upset BJP’s plan for 40 seats in Bihar?

Senior journalist Ranjit Bhushan argues that the main fight in general elections 2024 is between Modi’s BJP and RJD’s Tejashwi, pretty much his own man but at another level, a proxy for his father, Lalu Yadav, who despite political setbacks, remains a grassroot politician with his ear to the ground.

Even Bihar JD(U) leader Neeraj Kumar concedes that it will be difficult to repeat 2019’s performanc but believes that the INDIA alliance is riddled with too many contradictions.

“There is confusion among the allies. The RJD has announced symbol distribution without consulting its allies. The RJD-Congress leadership has not come up with an alternative plan and the RJD has not changed its political behaviour. There is a social contradiction between the allies,” he told this reporter.

Despite Modi’s growing clout in Bihar, and the hype over the Ram temple, an internal survey carried out by the BJP in January reportedly concluded that emotive issues won’t help the saffron camp sail through in the state as a formidable alliance of RJD, Congress, and the three Left parties could pose problems.

National Herald woes for Congress

An adjudicating authority under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on Wednesday upheld the attachment of assets worth around 752 crore of Congress-run National Herald newspaper and associated firms by ED, terming it as “proceeds of crime” involved in money laundering.

The authority also said that Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and Young Indian (YI) Private Limited “failed to discharge the burden of proof” under Section 24 of PMLA to prove that proceeds of crime were not involved in the offence.

“Having considered the material in original complaint, the written reply and rejoinder of defendants and also the oral arguments of complainant and defendants, I find that the movable and immovable properties provisionally attached (on November 20, 2023)...in the name of defendants (AJL and YI) are proceeds of crime in terms of section 2(1)(u) of the PMLA and therefore, involved in money laundering,” the authority said in its order on Wednesday evening.

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