New Delhi, July 17:
The Narendra Modi government acted against Delhi’s Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) because it feared action against a central minister, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Friday.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader also told India Today news channel that he would be happy if dissident leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan returned to the party.
Kejriwal claimed the central government changed the leadership of the ACB overnight because the BJP feared the anti-graft body was going to act against a minister in the Modi government.
“The BJP feared that the ACB was trying to frame a cabinet minister. The centre’s move was aimed at pre-empting our move,” Kejriwal said. He didn’t identify the minister.
The Kejriwal government has been locked in a bitter row with Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung over the control of the ACB.
In his interview, Kejriwal insisted that Jung was fronting for the Modi government and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“Modi is using Jung so that Kejriwal is not able to work…
“Modi is controlling the Delhi government’s home department by sending Delhi Police personnel there.
“L.K. Advani was right in invoking fears of another Emergency. Why else does Modi say that he will decide every post (in Delhi) from (that of) the peon to the chief secretary? Is this right?”
According to Kejriwal, Jung himself was positive about the work being done by the ACB after the AAP took power in February but everything changed suddenly on June 8.
Last month, Jung replaced Delhi government appointee S.S. Yadav with M.K. Meena — both men are from Delhi Police — as the ACB chief.
The AAP government dubbed Meena’s appointment illegal, and drastically pruned his powers. The tug of war now awaits a judicial verdict.
Kejriwal said he would be happy if Yadav and Bhushan, who were among the founder leaders of the AAP, returned to the party.
“Agar aisa hua to bahut achcha hoga (If it happens, it will be very good),” he said. “Their return will be good for the party.”
He denied that his allegedly dictatorial attitude was coming in the way of their return to the AAP.
Both Yadav and Bhushan were removed from the AAP in April for alleged anti-party activities following an acrimonious two-month-long war of words between the founding members of the party and Kejriwal backers.
Since then, Yadav and Bhushan have publicly accused Kejriwal of being intolerant of dissenting voices.
Kejriwal defended the AAP’s decision to seek public funds for the party, saying this was necessary to do “honest politics”.
Kejriwal did not say if he would campaign for the upcoming assembly elections in Bihar, whose Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has repeatedly held talks with the AAP leader.
But he made it clear that the AAP would take part in the next assembly polls in Punjab where the party surprisingly won four Lok Sabha seats in 2014.
“We will certainly contest in Punjab,” he said. (IANS)