11 and counting, says the Aam Aadmi Party after the arrest on Sunday of two of its Delhi lawmakers. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has accused the Modi government at the Centre of “sending Delhiites to jail under false cases.”
He has also described his party’s power struggle with the BJP in Delhi as a “holy war between Kauravas and Pandavas,” referencing the epic Mahabharat.
Two AAP lawmakers were arrested within 12 hours on the weekend – Amanatullah Khan, the party’s MLA from Okhla, was arrested for allegedly trying to run over a woman protesting outside his home against power cuts and Naresh Yadav, AAP lawmaker from Mehrauli, is accused of desecrating the holy Quran.
The arrests, both made in Delhi, took the number of AAP lawmakers held in different cases to 11; the party had last year won 67 of Delhi’s 70 seats, sweeping the assembly elections. The BJP came second winning the other three seats.
Mr Kejriwal alleged at a function in Delhi on Sunday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “could not digest his defeat.”
He also tweeted, “Why is Modiji not arresting perpetrators of crime against women? It is shameful that Modiji has diverted the entire police from protecting women to arresting his political opponents.”
The Delhi Police, which arrested Mr Khan, reports not to the state government, but to the Centre’s representative in the national capital, the Lieutenant Governor. Naresh Yadav was arrested by the Punjab Police and has been taken to that state. Mr Yadav was produced in the Malerkotla court today.
Mr Khan would be produced in a court this afternoon.
Both have said they have been framed in “political conspiracies.”
Mr Kejriwal has warned the BJP that if its government at the Centre does not stop targeting AAP, it will “meet the same fate in Punjab, Goa and Gujarat like it did in Delhi.”
Assembly elections will be held in all three states next year and Mr Kejriwal has announced that his party will attempt to form governments there.