No matter how many policemen you deploy or BJP leaders protest outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence we will not give you the permission to turn Delhi’s stadiums into jail to imprison protesting farmers, said Aam Aadmi Party National Spokesperson Raghav Chaddha on Wednesday.
“Mr Kejriwal’s movement continues to be restricted by the Delhi police as directed by Union Minister Amit Shah,” Mr Chadha told reporters on Wednesday, a day after his party alleged the AAP chief had to cancel all his meetings because he had been put under “house arrest” for supporting farmers and their demands.
The claim has been dismissed by the Delhi Police, which added that Mr Kejriwal had attended a meeting at 11 am.
“They have opened a back gate, but the main gate of his residence remains closed,” said Mr Chadha, who according to news agency PTI added that there is an atmosphere of “undeclared emergency” around the chief minister’s residence.
The senior leader said the move was a tactic to pressure the Delhi government so its stadia can be turned into jails for farmers demanding repeal of the three “black laws”.
“Why is the chowkidar (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) so scared of the sevadar (Arvind Kejriwal). What revenge are you trying to exact?… Is he being made to pay for backing farmers?” the MLA said comparing the centre’s stand towards farmers to that of AAP chief’s call of “being a volunteer in service”.
On Monday, a day ahead of Bharat Bandh, the Delhi Chief Minister had visited the Singhu border to review arrangements made by his government for farmers, whom he had called his guests, and said the AAP and he would participate in the Bharat Bandh called by farmers for repeal of centre’s three contentious agriculture reform laws.
The next day, his party claimed that Mr Kejriwal had been put under “house arrest” since no one was being allowed to meet the Chief Minister, including ministers and party leaders.
The claims were dismissed by the Delhi Police as “baseless” and it later said the security was routine. The Delhi police did accept that some restrictions had been placed but that was only because a group of BJP leaders were protesting outside Mr Kejriwal’s residence.
The AAP, however, maintains that the councillors’ protest was a ruse to keep Mr Kejriwal from joining the farmers protest.
The “house arrest” claim invited a jibe from BJP’s cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhi who said Mr Kejriwal’s support to farmers was pretence and that he was only interested in wresting power in Punjab, where AAP is the main opposition party.
The comment came in the backdrop of Arvind Kejriwal being accused of having “double standards” on farm laws by Punjab Chief Minister. Earlier, Amarinder Singh had called out his counterpart saying that if the AAP chief was really concerned about farmers, he would have passed bills countering the Centre’s “black laws”, like Punjab.
(With input from PTI)