Former Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken on Sunday launched a scathing attack on AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal, saying that individuals like him and his associates who face “serious corruption charges” should not be shown any sympathy or support.
The stance by Maken, a former Union minister during the UPA government, is at variance with his party’s central leadership as Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge had telephoned Kejriwal on Saturday, a day after the AAP convenor was summoned by the CBI, and expressed solidarity with the AAP leader.
The statement comes at a time when efforts are being made to unite opposition parties and bring them together on a common platform.
In his call to Kejriwal, Kharge had stressed the need for opposition parties to unite against the BJP ahead of the 2024 general elections, according to sources.
In a long Twitter post that came on the day of Kejriwal’s questioning by the CBI, Maken said, “I believe that individuals like Kejriwal and his associates who face serious corruption charges should not be shown any sympathy or support.” “The allegations of LiquorGate and GheeGate must be thoroughly investigated and those found guilty should be punished. It is important for all political leaders, including those from Congress, to recognize that the money gained through corrupt means by Kejriwal has been used against the Congress party in several states, including Punjab, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Delhi,” Maken said.
Noting that Kejriwal founded the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in 2013 with the aim of fighting corruption, following the Anna Hazare movement, Maken said the party promised to enact the Lokpal Bill, which was viewed by the opposition parties as a solution to corruption in the Congress party.
“However, Kejriwal dissolved his own government in February 2014, just 40 days after coming to power, demanding a strong Lokpal bill, which was later made public.
“Despite this, in December 2015, Kejriwal introduced a watered-down version of the Lokpal Bill that differed greatly from the original bill proposed in 2014,” the former Delhi Congress chief said.
This exposes the true character and intentions of Kejriwal, he added.
The original bill, which formed the basis for dissolving his 40-day government, has yet to be implemented, Maken said.
“Since 2015, Kejriwal and his party have failed to push for a stronger Lokpal bill. Instead, they have become known for their protests, marches, and counter-allegations only seeking more power. Now that Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned Kejriwal, a stronger Lokpal bill instead, could have investigated the GheeGate allegations,” he argued.
Maken also appealed to capable advocates and senior steering committee members to refrain from representing Kejriwal or his government in court.
“While it is within their professional realm to represent anyone, doing so for Kejriwal’s government and associates sends the wrong message to our cadres and confuses them. It ultimately benefits the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by dividing Congress Party votes,” he said.
Significantly, Congress steering committee member and advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi has represented the AAP in the past and Kejriwal has reportedly sought his legal counsel.
Besides Kharge’s telephone call, the central leadership of the Congress has remained largely silent on Kejriwal summoning. Delhi Congress leaders, however, have been attacking Kejriwal over the liquor policy case.
Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal was questioned by the CBI on Sunday in the excise policy case, amid protests by his party as the AAP chief accused the agency of acting at the behest of the BJP.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)