Fearing defeat in Gujarat polls, BJP trying to 'crush' AAP in name of fighting corruption: Kejriwal

The Delhi chief minister said the BJP is rattled by his party's growing popularity in Gujarat.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressing the 'Rashtriya Jan Pratinidhi Sammelan' at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi. (Photo | ANI)
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressing the 'Rashtriya Jan Pratinidhi Sammelan' at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi. (Photo | ANI)

NEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday launched a blistering attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, accusing them of trying to "crush" the AAP in the name of fighting corruption as they feared a defeat in Gujarat polls.

Addressing the first-ever national conclave of his party's elected representatives, Kejriwal also alleged that the Modi government has been trying to frame his party ministers and leaders in false corruption cases as the BJP is "not able to digest the growing popularity of the AAP in Gujarat".

The BJP is so rattled by the AAP's growing influence ahead of the Gujarat assembly elections that "the prime minister's media advisor Hiren Joshi has warned several (TV) channels' owners and their editors not to give coverage to AAP in Gujarat, threatening them with dire consequences", the party's national convener alleged.

No immediate reaction to Kejriwal's charge was available from the PMO or Joshi.

"Many of these editors were showing me his messages sent to them. He (Joshi) writes such filthy abuses (in his message) to editors and the owners of their channels, threatening action if they show Kejriwal on their channels," Kejriwal claimed.

The AAP national convener claimed that due to "such threats", news channels in Gujarat do not call anyone from his party to participate in TV debates on alleged corruption charges against his deputy Manish Sisodia,

"Just those from the Congress and the BJP participate in the TV debates and discuss (the alleged corruption charge against Sisodia)," he said.

Local newspapers in Gujarat also do not publish anything about the AAP, he added.

"I just want to tell one thing to Hiren Joshi ji that the prime minister and you both would not be in a position to show your faces to the country if anyone takes a screenshot of the messages that you have sent and share it on social media," Kejriwal said.

"You will not remain in a position to show your face to anybody if someone shares the recording of your phone calls. Just stop threatening the media," he said.

Kejriwal said the AAP is being discussed all over Gujarat, despite the mainstream media being threatened against giving any coverage to the party, as social media has provided people with access to information.

He defended corruption charges levelled against Sisodia, jailed Delhi minister Satyendar Jain and MLA Amanatullah Khan, alleging that the Modi government has put CBI, ED and other agencies after his leaders to frame them in "false cases" in the name of fighting against corruption just to crush the AAP.

"It's a conspiracy to crush AAP, not any fight against corruption. They just want to stop AAP," he charged.

The Delhi chief minister said the BJP is rattled by his party's growing popularity in Gujarat.

"We are going to form our government in Gujarat," he asserted.

Kejriwal alleged the BJP has "purchased" 285 MLAs all over the country so far to topple other parties' governments under 'Operation Lotus' and "spent Rs 7,000-Rs 8,000 crore" on it.

"You are committing corruption, buying MLAs openly with looted money. Yet, you have the audacity to say from the ramparts of the Red Fort that you are fighting against corruption," he charged in a veiled attack at the prime minister.

Kejriwal also targeted the prime minister and the BJP over their pitch against "freebies", saying they are against it as they are not able to figure out how to fund free facilities to people.

"They are neither able to swallow the 'revadi' nor throw it out," he said.

The Delhi chief minister said free facilities can be given to people and there would be no dearth of money to fund them if the governments are honest.

"Only a dishonest (person), a corrupt and a traitor will say freebies are not good for the country. If any politician says freebies will ruin the country's economy, consider his intentions are wrong and he wants to loot people and waive loans of his friends," he added.

Kejriwal claimed that the AAP leaders are being implicated in "false corruption cases" as the BJP is not able to digest its "honest politics, freebies, and work in education and health sectors".

"The AAP is just a 10-year-old party. It is fighting with powerful forces and killing many devils like corruption and price rise just the way Kanha (Lord Krishna) killed many devils when he was young," he said.

The Delhi chief minister said more AAP leaders will be arrested in the coming days and asked the party leaders to be ready to go to jail "for three months".

"After three months, they won't be able to do any harm to you," he said.

Besides 92 AAP MLAs from Punjab, 62 MLAs from Delhi, and two MLAs from Goa, more than 1,400 elected representatives in urban local bodies and panchayats from across 20 states have come to participate in the party's 'Rashtriya Janpratinidhi Sammelan'.

"Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann, who is in Germany, will participate in the day-long conclave through video conference during its concluding session in the evening," AAP chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said.

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