Punjab CM meets Kejriwal in Tihar jail

| | New Delhi
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Punjab CM meets Kejriwal in Tihar jail

Tuesday, 16 April 2024 | Staff Reporter | New Delhi

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann met Arvind Kejriwal in Tihar jail Monday and alleged he was being treated like a terrorist, even as AAP said its Government in Delhi will start functioning from jail under a “proper format” with Chief Minister Kejriwal planning to meet two Ministers from next week.

Mann, who was accompanied by Aam Aadmi Party Rajya Sabha MP Sandeep Pathak, said they met Kejriwal for half-an-hour but they were separated by a glass wall and had to interact over a phone call. Mann said Kejriwal asked him to campaign for INDIA bloc candidates in different parts of the country.

Pathak said Chief Minister Kejriwal will start meeting two Ministers in the jail every week from next week and review their works. “We will undertake whatever legal processes are needed (to make this happen),” he said. “From next week, when the ministers meet, the Government will start functioning from jail in a proper format.”

Delhi BJP Spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor hit back at the AAP Government saying  the claim of Pathak, the general secretary of the AAP, to run the Government from jail in Delhi is humorous and misleading. “In reality, Kejriwal is in jail and the Government has come to a standstill,” he said.

The BJP has been demanding Kejriwal’s resignation since his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate on March 21 in an excise policy-related money laundering case. The AAP and its ministers have, however, maintained that Kejriwal will continue to run the government from jail.

The Punjab Chief Minister told reporters after the meeting that he got emotional when he saw his party’s chief.

“It is very sad to see that Arvind Kejriwal is not even getting the facilities that a hardcore criminal gets. What is his crime? That he built schools, hospitals, mohalla clinics and gave free electricity to the public? You are treating him as if you have arrested a big terrorist of the country.

“When (Congress leader) P Chidambaram was in jail, Sonia Gandhi used to meet him in-person but today we were separated by a glass wall which was very dirty. What does Modiji want? This will cost them. Kejriwal, who is a ‘kattar imandar’ and who started a politics of transparency, is being treated like this,” he said.Mann said AAP will emerge a strong political force on June 4 when Lok Sabha election results are announced. “Kejriwal was worried about the country. If the Constitution survives, the party will also survive.”

“We don’t know why there is so much hostility towards us that we are being treated like terrorists,” he asked. Mann also dismissed suggestions that AAP has been hit by defections since Kejriwal’s arrest, saying it’s a disciplined party and is completely together and united. “We all stand with Arvind Kejriwal like a rock. Arvind Kejriwal will come out of jail soon,” he added.

Pathak said Kejriwal was concerned about the people of Delhi and was constantly enquiring whether they were getting their subsidies.

 “Even while being in the jail, he is worried about the people of Delhi. He said that from next week, he will call two ministers to discuss issues. He has also asked party MLAs to go out among people and address their grievances,” Pathak said.

Later, addressing a press conference, Pathak said Mann was crying after seeing Kejriwal and was choked for a few minutes. “When we asked Kejriwal about his health, he said, ‘I am ready for the struggle. Do not worry about me. First tell me what is the public saying? Is the electricity subsidy continuing and are there any power cuts? Are free medicines available in government hospitals?’ He asked us everything and was only satisfied after we told him everything about the people of Delhi,” the MP added.

Pathak said that during his meetings with two ministers from next week, Kejriwal will review the work being done by their departments.”He will issue them guidelines and directions. He has also asked party MLAs to meet people in their constituencies over their issues and stay 24 hours among the public. He asked MLAs to put in twice the effort that they were putting in earlier,” Pathak said.

He said the chief minister also enquired about the Delhi government’s Mukhyamantri Mahila Samman Yojana for 2024-25 under which eligible women will get Rs 1,000 every month.

“He said that nobody should be worried and assured that the scheme will be implemented as soon as he comes out of jail. There was no sign of worry on his face. He assured that wherever he stays he will continue to struggle,” he added.

The meeting between the three AAP leaders took place in the ‘mulakat jangla,’ a room divided with a glass wall, a Tihar jail official said.

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