‘Politically Motivated Case’ to ‘Centre’s Draamebaazi’: Here’s How Delhiites React to Arvind Kejriwal’s Arrest

The Mooknayak spoke to individuals, belonging to marginalised communities, who are recipients of various social welfare programs launched by the Delhi government.
(From Left to Right) Brijesh Singh, Dhiren and Tarachand
(From Left to Right) Brijesh Singh, Dhiren and Tarachand

New Delhi: The arrest of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with alleged irregularities in now-defunct city’s liquor policy has sparked widespread uproar across the nation’s political landscape. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is leaving no stone unturned to protest the jailing of its leader.

The Mooknayak spoke to individuals, belonging to marginalised communities, who are recipients of various social welfare programs launched by the Delhi government.

We ventured out to visit various neighborhoods in Kalkaji and CR Park, engaging with individuals from diverse backgrounds to gauge their sentiments regarding the ED action and observe whether they feel there is any broader agenda behind it.

The first stop was a lively roadside tea stall, situated just a few meters from Govindpuri Extension, where people were having tea, a quintessential beverage beloved by the Indian populace.

On being asked about the arrest of his chief minister, Virendra Dogra, a music teacher, termed it pure ‘draamebaazi’ (dramatics) of the Central government and its agencies. If Kejriwal had to be arrested, according to him, they (the ED) could have arrested him at the time when he was served the first summon and not wait till the elections were announced.

He declared the arrest is politically motivated and has been carried out to weaken the Opposition ahead of the upcoming general elections.

“Getting Kejriwal arrested, (Prime Minister narendra) Modiji has declared that it is none other than him (the Delhi chief minister) who matches his calibre,” he opined.

(From Left to Right) Brijesh Singh, Dhiren and Tarachand
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There is no party, he frustratingly added, that is free from corruption. “At this juncture, we need to see who is working for betterment of health and education infrastructures in the city,” he said.

The teacher led to a long discussion among the other people who were also enjoying tea there. Everyone seemed to mutually agree that they have been beneficiaries of the social service schemes launched by the AAP government and saw the political party as one of the few outfits that stands by their promises.

“The arrest was not right. We as citizens do not know what exactly led to Kejriwal’s arrest but the only thing I can say is that he has been working for us,” stated a worker at a furniture factory.

Tarachand, a garbage collector based in Govindpuri appreciated the Delhi government’s public welfare initiatives, saying that he is able to live and survive in the metropolitan city because of the people’s friendly dispensation. 

Manish Sisodia and Arvind Kejriwal
Manish Sisodia and Arvind Kejriwal

“Kejriwal provided me with free electricity, water and medicines. We had nothing to complain about the government,” he continued.

Calling the chief minister’s arrest a harrassment, Tarachand sarcastically said this is how the central government has been functioning since many years now. “No one supports the people who are doing good work. The government has given them (ED) immense power, and they are abusing it to silence their political master’s adversaries. Public should support Kejriwal,” he added.

While many residents in the area are enjoying the cool air of air conditioners in their households, Dhiren, a security guard at a posh colony in CR Park, was sitting in his narrow cabin under a fan. “All I can say is the arrest is unfair and malafide,” he said.

He sounded optimistic about the return of the chief minister whom he describes as a mass leader.

He remarked that it was due to the Kejriwal government that he had gotten a ‘labour card’ made, which provided him with financial assistance.

Both the Centre and state government issues improvised people who are below poverty line a labour card so that they can get at least 100 days of work in a year under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

Brijesh Singh, an auto driver, said, “He (Kejriwal) is corrupt, that is why he has been arrested. Without any evidence, you cannot arrest anyone. There must have been something against him.”

He has a son who is studying in 12th grade. He wants to see him going for higher education. But with the rising fees of even the public institutions, he is unsure if that will happen. 

“I want my son to get admitted to the Delhi University. But affording the fees is another concern. I do not know if I will be able to do it,” added Singh.

The Delhi chief minister was arrested by the ED on March 21. The national convener of AAP is accused of allegedly seeking kickbacks from liquor traders in exchange for favours. The central probing agency has also labelled him as the “kingpin” of the alleged conspirator.

AAP’s three top leaders — former Deputy Chief Minister, ex-cabinet minister Manish Sisodia and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh — are already languishing in jail in connection with the case. 

Furthermore, the federal agency has approached the court seeking permission to investigate AAP’s involvement as a beneficiary of the “proceeds of crime”.

In response, Kejriwal has refuted the allegations and accused the BJP-led Center of using investigative agencies for political motives.

(From Left to Right) Brijesh Singh, Dhiren and Tarachand
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