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regular-article-logo Sunday, 26 May 2024

Freedom, Constitution in danger: Punjab CM slams BJP over Kejriwal's arrest

Mann, along with several ministers and AAP MLAs, gathered at Khatkar Kalan in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district for a day-long fast to protest Kejriwal's arrest

PTI Chandigarh Published 07.04.24, 08:07 PM
Bhagwant Mann

Bhagwant Mann File

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Sunday attacked the BJP-led Centre over the arrest of AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal and alleged that freedom and the country's Constitution were in danger.

Mann, along with several ministers and AAP MLAs, gathered at Khatkar Kalan in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district for a day-long fast to protest the arrest after the Aam Aadmi Party gave the call for a nationwide collective fast.

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Khatkar Kalan is the ancestral village of legendary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.

Kejriwal, who is also the AAP national convener, was arrested last month by the Enforcement Directorate in an excise policy-linked money laundering case. He had been sent to judicial custody till April 15.

Recently, Yadvinder Sandhu, the kin of Bhagat Singh, had opposed Kejriwal's picture behind bars being flanked by portraits of the freedom fighter and BR Ambedkar, saying he felt bad that an attempt was being made to compare the AAP leader with the two icons.

The BJP on Sunday accused Mann of hurting the feelings of people by placing Kejriwal's picture at the birthplace of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

Addressing the gathering at Khatkar Kalan, Mann alleged that the BJP was "unnerved" at the expansion of the AAP which became a national party in 10 years.

"We formed governments in two states in 10 years. We have MLAs in Gujarat and Goa and a mayor in Chandigarh. We have 10 Rajya Sabha members. So they (BJP) got scared as no party expanded so quickly," said Mann.

"Our party became a national party in a span of 10 years," said Mann, adding it has "unnerved" the BJP.

"Because of this, they got leaders who speak (against them) raided and put them behind bars to suppress their voices," he said.

"They (BJP) do not want any such voice which goes against them. It was Kejriwal's voice which was spreading across the country. He speaks the truth and we are his soldiers," said Mann.

The CM said the BJP thought to suppress Kejriwal's voice by arresting him.

"But how will you imprison his thinking? They (BJP) are scared now," said Mann.

He said the first decision of his government -- formed on March 16, 2022 -- was to put only the pictures of legendary martyr Bhagat Singh and Dr B R Ambedkar in government offices.

"Today, freedom, got by Bhagat Singh, and the Constitution, written by Dr (Ambedkar) saab, are in danger," he alleged.

Mann also targeted the BJP over leaders facing corruption charges aligning with it, saying the saffron party has a washing machine to clean any "corrupt" individual who joins it.

Mann said if the BJP truly believes in a "Modi wave" then what was the need to arrest Kejriwal.

"If they have so much trust in Modi wave then what was the need to arrest Kejriwal. You do your work, we will do ours," said Mann, adding that voters will decide whom they want.

Mann said it was not the first crisis the AAP was facing an attack as earlier too, several attempts were made to "break" the party in Delhi and Punjab.

He also accused the Centre of withholding Rs 8,000 crore of the state's share including rural development fund.

Present at the venue were Punjab ministers Harpal Cheema, Harbhajan Singh, Baljit Kaur, Bram Shanker Jimpa, Laljit Singh Bhullar, Anmol Gagan Mann, Gurmeet Singh Khudian, Punjab Vidhan Sabha speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan, AAP candidate from Anandpur Sahib seat Malvinder Singh Kang, and party candidate from Fatehgarh Sahib Gurpreet Singh GP among others.

Several AAP volunteers were seen carrying a picture of Kejriwal showing behind bars.

Meanwhile, Punjab BJP chief Sunil Jakhar slammed the CM, saying people will not forgive him for the "drama" at the most sacred land of Khatkar Kalan.

"By placing the picture of your leader who is involved in a liquor scandal at the birthplace of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, you have hurt the feelings of every Punjabi," said Jakhar in a post on X.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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