Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal on Friday urged party workers to seek public opinion on whether he should resign as Delhi’s chief minister or run the government from jail if he is arrested in connection with the liquor excise policy case, the Hindustan Times reported.
“I don’t have any lust for power,” Kejriwal said. “I resigned from the post on the 49th day [in 2014]. Nobody asked for my resignation. But we have to ensure that we do not get trapped in BJP’s conspiracies”.
The chief minister alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party plans to get central investigative agencies to arrest Opposition leaders Mamata Banerjee, Tejashwi Yadav and Hemant Soren so that it can “sweep in” West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand – states where the leaders are in power.
“So, should I resign?” The Indian Express quoted Kejriwal as saying. “Should I run the government from jail?” Today I am giving you [party workers] this task to ask the people of Delhi. They have given us a lot of love, we will not do anything without their permission.”
He added: “Go to every house in Delhi and take people’s opinion. But the BJP should not get one Lok Sabha seat from Delhi this time – even if I am in jail.”
Kejriwal said he has also been discussing the matter with the state legislators.
The chief minister further asserted that Delhi has no liquor scam. “Liquor scams are there in Gujarat and Haryana,” Kejriwal said. “But the BJP has understood that it cannot win an election against AAP unless it puts top AAP leaders in jail. But today I am telling you to arrest me and see AAP win from jail.”
The liquor policy case
A first information report registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation has alleged irregularities in the Aam Aadmi Party government’s now-scrapped liquor excise policy. The Enforcement Directorate is also investigating the matter.
The two central investigative agencies have alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party modified the liquor excise policy to ensure a 12% profit margin for wholesalers and a nearly 185% profit margin for retailers.
The Enforcement Directorate has also claimed that members of a so-called South Group had paid at least Rs 100 crore in kickbacks to leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party through businessman Vijay Nair.
The Central Bureau of Investigation questioned Kejriwal for nearly nine hours on April 16.
On November 2, Kejriwal skipped the summons issued by the Enforcement Directorate to question him in connection with the case. In the letter to the central agency, Kejriwal said that it was not clear to him if he had been summoned as a witness or a suspect in the case that “appears to be in the nature of a fishing and roving inquiry”.
Kejriwal has not been named as an accused in the chargesheet.
Earlier, Kejriwal had said that the Enforcement Directorate’s notice issued to him was “illegal and politically motivated”.