Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday dared “coward” Arvind Kejriwal to accuse him of being corrupt when the Delhi chief minister visits Assam on April 2.
Reacting to the Delhi chief minister and AAP leader Kejriwal’s corruption allegation in the Delhi Assembly against him, Sarma told mediapersons on the sidelines of an official function here, “Is there any case against me in thecountry? I wanted to file a defamation case but Arvind Kejriwal, like a coward, he spoke inside (Delhi) Assembly. So let him come to Assam on the 2nd and say that there is a case against Himanta Biswa Sarma. I will sue him right away.”
Sarma added: “I challenge them to show a single case against me.... So let Kejriwal come on the 2nd, speak against me a single word against me that I am corrupt and the next day I am going to file a defamation case, the same thing I have done against Manish Sisodia ... In entire India, there is no case against me except for some cases filed by Congress people in various courts. But there is no case against me before no agency, before no court, before no police stations.”
Sarma’s salvo comes in the run-up to Kejriwal and Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann’s visit to Guwahati in April to address a state AAP-convened meeting at the Sonaram Bora field here. It is the first rally to be addressed by Kejriwal as chief minister in Assam where the party has only two elected municipal members but is preparing to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Assam’s AAP unit was formed in 2013.
Ties between Assam and Delhi chief minister took a beating after AAP leader Sisodia accused Sarma of corruption under the pretext of Covid-19 management when Sarma was the health minister. Sarma responded by filing a defamation case here against Sisodia in July last year. Both Kejriwal and Sarma took digs at each other over the condition of schools in both states last year.
After his interaction with mediapersons, Sarma also tweeted against Kejriwal, whose allegation seemed to have touched a raw nerve.
“Mr Arvind Kejriwal is a coward who’s hiding behind the veil of immunity in Delhi Assembly and uttering white lies. Let him say there’s a corruption case pending against me outside the Assembly premise and I will sue him in the same manner I did with his colleague Manish Sisodia,” Sarma tweeted.
Kejriwal had on March 29 alleged in the Delhi Assembly that the ED and the CBI had brought all the “corrupt” under one party, that the two central agencies put a gun to their head and ask them if they want to go to jail or the BJP and that they had also put a gun to Sisodia and Satyendra Jain (both AAP leaders) but they preferred jail to joining BJP.
“They put a gun to Himanta Biswa Sarma, he said BJP manzoor hai. Why? Usne chori kar rakhi thi (he had committed theft)... But time changes... Whenever BJP is out of power, when Modi ji is not PM, then India will become bhrastachar-mukt (corruption free). How? All the thieves are in one room. It will be easier to catch them.... The day their (BJP) government goes, Modi ji is not PM, put all BJP wallahs in jail, the country will become corruption-free.
The AAP has reacted to Sarma’s charges. AAP media coordinator Jayanta Kumar Kalita told The Telegraph that it was not important where Kejriwal said what he said.
“What is important is Assam CM proving what he (Kejriwal) said is true or not,” Kalita said.
Kalita also said using words such as coward does not befit a person of Sarma’s stature.
“He is after all the chief ministers. Such words do not befit a public figure. But we are thankful to him for promoting our leader’s upcoming visit to the state. It was a demand of the people of the state that Kejriwal ji visits the state,” Kalita said.