India's BJP members detained at protest seeking Delhi leader's resignation

Protest in Indian capital prompted police efforts to disperse the crowd using water cannons

Reuters April 10, 2024
Policemen outside Shaheedi Park amid call given by AAP to protest against arrest of party leader Kejriwal in New Delhi, India March 23, 2024. PHOTO: REUTERS


Several members of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were detained on Wednesday at a demonstration demanding the resignation of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, an opposition leader who has been arrested in a corruption case.

The protest in the capital New Delhi prompted police efforts to disperse the crowd using water cannons and came a day after the Delhi High Court dismissed a plea challenging Kejriwal's arrest, saying his detention was justified.

Kejriwal was arrested by the financial crime-fighting agency last month on allegations of corruption relating to Delhi's liquor policy, ahead of general elections beginning on April 19 in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a third term.

Kejriwal was sent to prison until April 15 and is currently lodged in Tihar jail, where he joined two other senior leaders of his party who were imprisoned in the same case.

Kejriwal filed an appeal against the decision in the Supreme Court on Wednesday but the top court rejected his plea for an urgent hearing, local media reported.

Protesting near the headquarters of Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the capital, BJP members chanted slogans calling the leader corrupt and a thief. Police hauled them into buses and removed them from the spot.

Read all: India court rejects plea challenging Delhi chief minister's arrest in graft case

"A government cannot be run from prison ... if Arvind Kejriwal does not resign, the law will do its work," BJP's Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, leader of opposition in the Delhi assembly, told ANI news agency.

AAP leaders, who maintain the case against Kejriwal is "fabricated", said he would not resign.

The AAP suffered a fresh setback on Wednesday when Delhi's Social Welfare Minister Raaj Kumar Anand resigned from his post and from the party, saying he did not want his name to be connected with "corrupt behaviour".

AAP leaders said Anand may have quit due to a fear of enforcement agencies.

"We have said only one thing from the start, that the intention behind Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest is to break the party, to finish it," AAP's Sanjay Singh, who was granted bail in the same graft case last week, told reporters.


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