AAM Aadmi Party (AAP) News

Trinamool Spent Rs 47 Crore For Goa Polls, BJP Rs 17 Crore: Election Body
Ndtv | 1 day ago | |
Ndtv
1 day ago | |

Eyeing expansion, the Trinamool Congress had actively campaigned for the assembly elections in Goa.New Delhi: The Goa assembly elections were keenly fought with the Trinamool Congress and Aam Aadmi Party throwing their hats in the ring but when it came to poll expenditure, it was the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress that loosened its purse strings spending a whopping Rs 47.54 crore.The BJP, which retained power in Goa with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant at the helm, spent over Rs 17.75 crore towards election expenditure in the state.The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP spent nearly Rs 3.5 crore in Goa, where it tried its luck for the second consecutive assembly elections.The details of the election expenditure were submitted by the respective political parties to the Election Commission recently.The Congress, which was hoping to dislodge the BJP from power in Goa, spent approximately Rs 12 crore on the Goa elections.The Nationalist Congress Party gave Rs 25 lakh each to the 11 candidates it had fielded for the elections, besides spending on the campaign from the party's central fund.The Shiv Sena, which fielded 10 candidates in the Goa elections, spent nearly Rs 92 lakh towards poll expenditure. Eyeing expansion, the Trinamool Congress had launched an election blitzkrieg in Goa with poll strategist Prashant Kishor playing a key role in trying to get the party a toehold in the state.The party fielded 23 candidates in the Goa assembly election but none of them won, while its ally Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party put up candidates in 13 seats and managed to win two.The AAP fielded 39 candidates and managed to open its account in the state by winning two seats.The Congress had cried foul at the entry of Trinamool Congress and the AAP in the electoral fray in Goa, accusing them of dividing the anti-BJP vote.The BJP won 20 seats in the 40-member assembly and formed the government with the support of two MGP MLAs and three Independent legislators.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comEarlier this month, eight of the 11 Congress MLAs, including Leader of Opposition Michael Lobo and former chief minister Digambar Kamat, defected to the BJP.(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Trinamool Spent Rs 47 Crore For Goa Polls, BJP Rs 17 Crore: Election Body
With 1,446 elected representatives from 20 states, AAP flexes muscles, sends out expansion message
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

More than 1,000 people from 20 states who came to attend the Aam Aadmi Party’s first ‘Jan Pratinidhi Sammelan’ (national conference) echoed a similar point on Sunday: That they wished to see Arvind Kejriwal as the Prime Minister one day.Harshal Sahare, a gram panchayat member from Maharashtra, said, “I have attended other meetings and met chief ministers Arvind Kejriwal and Bhagwant Mann ji earlier, but this is the first time we have been invited to such a huge meeting. Kejriwal’s speech inspired us to work for the public and we are following in his footsteps… I am waiting for the 2024 elections and want to see him as the PM,” said.Jeevanandan from Tamil Nadu’s Ranipettai gram sabha chimed in, “In Tamil Nadu, the DMK is the heavyweight but youngsters are drawn to the AAP and its model. Last year, AAP won a seat in the council elections. We have formed Assembly committees and booth-level meetings to invite youngsters to join the party and work at the grassroots level. For AAP, it is tough but Kejriwal’s fanbase, especially amid the suburban youth, is high.”E Joseph Raja, state general secretary from Tamil Nadu, said, “After its growth in Punjab, AAP is garnering strength in TN… About 4,000 people have gathered to join the AAP in a single day… You can see that DMK leaders are also visiting Delhi to meet Kejriwal. This reflects the party’s popularity among the masses in the state.”A group of elected representatives from Haryana was in consonance: “We want to see Kejriwal as the PM. He is working for the poor person’s children, education, and better health facilities. Everyone is calling it free ki revdi, but he cares about everyone unlike the other party that works for the rich, rains promises during elections and forgets the public… No leader has thought about makings India number 1 but he does… He is a true leader.”A representative from Karnataka, Damodaran, said, “We are following five principles — education, health, equal opportunities for women, better services for farmers and world-class infrastructure. To achieve this, we have to be inside the Assembly and the system for which we are working tirelessly.”Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inboxMangala Maraskhole from Ghondiya in Maharashtra said, “I saw Kejriwal ji for the first and felt very happy. We are feeling very motivated and civic polls in Maharashtra are around the corner. The party will contest.”Many were seen from Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi, and several elected representatives who attended the programme were from Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Chhattisgarh. Among those present were 63 MLAs from Delhi, 92 MLAs from Punjab, two from Goa, and 10 Rajya Sabha members of Delhi and Punjab. Gram Panchayat and Zila Parishad members and Mayors were also in attendance.

With 1,446 elected representatives from 20 states, AAP flexes muscles, sends out expansion message
Doing ‘God’s work’ to seeds of expansion: Dissecting Kejriwal speech at AAP’s first national convention
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday tore into the BJP at the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) first national convention in the national capital that was attended by almost 1,500 elected representatives of the party from 20 states.Kejriwal, several of whose party colleagues are facing either facing corruption allegations or have been arrested over graft charges, framed the fight against the BJP as a struggle against “evil”. He also spoke of Gujarat, where the party is trying to make headway in the run-up to the coming Assembly elections, and brought up the “revdi” debate.Here are five broad topics that the AAP leader touched upon in his speech.Good versus evil“Like Lord Krishna was sent to end evil, God has sent the AAP to end corruption, inflation, unemployment, and save the Constitution and country from evils,” the Delhi CM told his party colleagues.Emphasising that the AAP’s formation was an act of divine intervention, Kejriwal said “god had to come and intervene, and in 2012 the AAP was formed to save the government and the country”. He added, “This is not some coincidence. .. God has given us the responsibility and each one of you has to keep up to that and work for development.”The AAP has always emphasised the importance of believers in its scheme of things, with the Delhi government in 2018 launching an initiative under which the government bears the cost of senior citizens’ travel to pilgrimage sites. Since then, the party has made a similar promise in states where it is looking to establish its presence, including Goa, Uttarakhand, and now Gujarat.BJP and ‘revdi’Kejriwal told his AAP colleagues that BJP was jealous of the popularity of the party’s politics of honesty. “They can’t bear our honesty. There are some things about AAP that they cannot bear — education, healthcare facilities and schemes which they call ‘revdi’. Their leaders have never spoken about education and healthcare facilities.”Last month, targeting the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his comments on “revdi”, or freebie, politics, Kejriwal said people calling welfare schemes “free ki revdi (sweets)” were “traitors” to the country and asked what was wrong with providing free education, health, and electricity to citizens.The AAP leader kept up his attack on Modi on Sunday, saying, “They are buying MLAs and then they stand on the ramparts of the Red Fort and say ‘I am fighting against corruption.’ He is not fighting corruption, he is fighting AAP.”Arrests of AAP leadersThe AAP has increasingly come under pressure over the arrests of its senior leaders in corruption cases and allegations of corruption against others. The latest to be arrested is MLA Amanatullah Khan who was arrested last Friday in a two-year-old case on alleged irregularities in the Delhi Waqf Board.Accusing the BJP of launching the second phase of “Operation Lotus” (in 2008, the BJP allegedly planned to engineer the defections of seven Opposition MLAs), the Delhi CM said, “Their phase-Il failed in Delhi and Punjab. So now they have arrested Amanatullah Khan in a fake case. Many of our MLAs have again started receiving calls from the BJP with offers of Rs 25 crore. They are being threatened that if you do not join BJP, you will also be arrested like Amanatullah Khan.”Kejriwal told his party colleagues that the way AAP MLAs were facing possible inquiries by central agencies was “not a small thing”. He added. “They (the BJP) want to put all of them (AAP leaders) in jail … You all should be ready to go to jail for three to four months … They won’t be able to do anything … Jail is not that bad … we stayed in jail for 15 days … If everyone gets this courage, they won’t be able to anything to us. “The CM also spoke of Satyendra Jain, who is in jail at present in a money laundering case, and said the former health minister should be given a Bharat Ratna for the work he has done to date. Kejriwal also referred to the accusations against his deputy Manish Sisodia and claimed state Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot was now being targeted.The seeds AAP plantedAt the start of his speech, Kejriwal said that 10 years ago, when the party was formed, he could not have imagined that one day so many representatives of his outfit would be present at the Indira Gandhi stadium in Delhi.The CM said AAP was planting seeds across India and these seeds would grow into strong trees, like in Delhi and Punjab. He hoped that like in Delhi and Punjab, AAP would get fruitful results in Gujarat. Since the landslide victory in Punjab, the AAP has its eyes on the western state apart from Himachal Pradesh, where it is not that strong organisationally at the moment. Earlier this year, the party made a foray into Goa and opened its account with two MLAs.“Seeds were planted in Delhi and Punjab and the plant has grown strong … We have planted seeds in Gujarat also and these seeds will grow very strong and become trees,” Kejriwal said. Referring to the party’s 27 councillors in the Surat Municipal Corporation, the AAP chief said, “A year-and-a-half ago, we planted 27 seeds in Gujarat and they are going to become strong trees.”Vision for futureExplaining his vision for the country, Kejriwal said work was required to ensure education, health and employment for people, equal opportunity for women and girls, and world-class infrastructure for farmers.Last month, the Delhi CM launched his ‘Mission to Make India number 1’ campaign. His five-point vision comprised free education; healthcare; employment; respect, dignity, equality and safety of women; and a fair price for farm crops.

Doing ‘God’s work’ to seeds of expansion: Dissecting Kejriwal speech at AAP’s first national convention
‘AAP is like Lord Krishna, was sent to end evil’: Arvind Kejriwal sharpens attack on BJP, PM Modi
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal Sunday sharpened his attacks on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the party’s first national convention.“Like lord Krishna was sent to end evil, god has sent AAP to end corruption, inflation, unemployment and save the constitution and country from evils,” he said, addressing a gathering of around 1,500 elected representatives of the AAP from around 20 states, including Punjab, Goa, Haryana.“Ten years ago, when the Aam Aadmi Party was formed, I never thought that there would be so many representatives that the Indira Gandhi stadium would fill up. Lord Krishna was born to end evil… Kanha ne rakshas ka vadh kiya… waise hi bhagwan ne AAP banaya hai,” he said.Attacking the Congress and the BJP, he said, “India adopted the Constitution on November 25, 1949, and in the next 60 years, these people destroyed the country. Later, God had to come and intervene and in 2012 AAP was formed to save the government and the country… This is not some coincidence… God has given us the responsibility and each one of you has to keep up to that and work for development.”“Seeds were planted in Delhi and Punjab and the plant has grown strong… We have planted seeds in Gujarat also and these seeds will grow very strong and become trees. ”Referring to the 27 councillors in the Surat municipal corporation, Kejriwal said: “A year and a half ago, we planted 27 seeds in Gujarat and they are going to become strong trees. Like lord Krishna, we are fighting against corruption, inflation, unemployment…agar dusri party wale mehngayi kam karte to hume log laat maar ke bhaga dete… But we are fighting against corruption and inflation. That is why people like us.”He said that people like the AAP because of its honest politics and honesty and that is what the opposition (BJP) cannot bear. “They can’t bear our honesty. There are some things about AAP that they can’t bear — education, healthcare facilities and schemes which they call ‘revdi’. Their leaders have never spoken about education and healthcare facilities.”Reacting to Amanatullah Khan’s arrest, Kejriwal accused BJP of launching phase -II of ‘Operation Lotus’. “Their phase-Il failed in Delhi and Punjab. So now they have arrested Amanatullah Khan in a fake case. Many of our MLAs have again started receiving calls from BJP with offers of Rs 25 crore. They are being threatened that if you will not join BJP, you will also face arrest like Amanatullah Khan.”“I have not seen India’s fight for freedom… but how our MLAs are fighting the opposition, rejecting offers of Rs 25-25 crores, facing CBI ED, it is not a small thing… They want to put all of them in Jail… You all should be ready to go to jail for 3-4 months…They won’t be able to do anything…Jail is not that bad…we stayed there in Jail for 15 days…agar sabke andar ye himmat aajaye wo humara kuch nahi bigad sakte,” Kejriwal added.The chief minister said Satyendar Jain, who is currently in jail in a money laundering case, should be given Bharat Ratna. “If he was in any other country, he would have been honoured for the work he did in the health and power sector. He brought mohalla clinics, free electricity, hospitals… He should be given the Bharat Ratna. When they failed to produce anything against Jain in court, they targeted Manish Sisodia but could find nothing… They raided his house, bank locker and questioned his villagers… They found nothing but a jhunjhuna that he bought for his son when he was a child… Now they are going after Kailash Gahlot… Don’t fear going to jail, jail is not bad, no matter what, we have to work for our country and make India number 1,” he said.Kejriwal was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on the stage. Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann was also supposed to come for the event but party officials said he was in Germany. All MLAs and MPs from Punjab and Delhi ministers Gopal Rai, Kailash Gahlot, Delhi Jal Board vice-chairman Saurabh Bhardwaj and MP Sanjay Singh were also present in the meeting.Hitting out at Modi, Kejriwal said, “They spent Rs 8-9 thousand crore to buy MLAs… They are buying MLA and then they stand on the ramparts of the Red Fort and say ‘I am fighting against corruption… He is not fighting corruption, he is fighting against the AAP.”“Our main mission is to make India Number 1 and for this, we have to work on four sectors — education, health, employment, equal opportunity to women and girls, world-class infrastructure and facilities for farmers. 75 years ago, everyone came together and kicked Britishers out…Now, we all have to come together to make our country number 1. We have launched a missed call number, join us and spread this across the city and country to make India number 1. Today, we have 1,446 representatives in 20 states and union territories… It includes MLA, MP, zila panchayat members etc,” Kejriwal added.

‘AAP is like Lord Krishna, was sent to end evil’: Arvind Kejriwal sharpens attack on BJP, PM Modi
Punjab: AAP minister demands judicial probe by SC judge into ‘Operation Lotus’ by BJP
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Amid Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) allegations against BJP of trying to topple the Punjab government by poaching its MLAs, finance minister Harpal Cheema Thursday demanded a judicial probe into ‘Operation Lotus’ by a Supreme Court judge.Addressing the media here, Cheema said, “Not only Punjab, BJP indulged in poaching in other states like Goa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Assam. In all these states where the Operation Lotus took place should also be a part of investigation.”He was reacting to BJP leaders’ meeting with Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit demanding a probe into AAP allegations against BJP.Cheema refused to give names of the BJP leaders against whom they had submitted an evidence to the police after which an FIR was registered by the Punjab Police Wednesday. “We have got the FIR registered. We will make the names public only after a thorough investigation is done. If we give out the names now, the Opposition will distort the facts.”He also took a dig at Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and said both the parties are questioning AAP instead of questioning the BJP. “Both the parties are asking AAP for evidence to support their claim although Congress is facing defections in Goa which itself is a proof,” Cheema said.“But they (Congress) did not say anything against the BJP because their party president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi are facing probes by the ED and the CBI. That is why the Congress did not open its mouth and others kept hitting at AAP seeking evidence,” said Cheema.He added that he wants to ask Congress and SAD if they have lost faith in democracy because when BJP is “murdering it” then neither of the parties are opposing it. He said he can understand SAD’s reason to defend BJP as they have been alliance partners before. “SAD leader Bikram Majithia had been working as a spokesperson of BJP,” Cheema said.Cheema claimed AAP is the only party in which MLAs are not selling themselves. “BJP tried Operation Lotus in Delhi and now in Punjab. But it failed at both the places,” he said.

Punjab: AAP minister demands judicial probe by SC judge into ‘Operation Lotus’ by BJP
‘MLAs succumbed to greed, allowed themselves to be purchased like cattle’
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

Panaji: The eight Congress legislators who joined BJP on Wednesday came in for scathing criticism with opposition parties accusing them of betraying the election mandate out of greed. The opposition parties also blamed BJP for engineering the defections. Criticism was also levelled against Congress for not being able to keep its flock together. GFP president Vijai Sardesai said that the eight legislators opted to “pursue their greed for wealth and hunger for power” while also making a mockery of the oaths they swore before religious deities.He accused BJP of using deceit and manipulation, which has brought ridicule to Goa. He said that BJP has treated MLAs as commodities, and the eight MLAs have allowed themselves “to be purchased like cattle”.AAP and RG have challenged the eight MLAs to resign and stand for elections again. “The Cumbarjua MLA has said that he will speak to the CM and get the old Goa structure demolished. In that case, I challenge him not to accept any ministry or position until that structure is demolished,” AAP’s Goa convener Amit Palekar said. He alleged that BJP used blackmail and money to lure the Congress MLAs. “I think all of them should stand for elections again if they have the guts.” RG founder Manoj Parab issued a similar challenge to the MLAs. “If these MLAs are so confident that the people are with them, they should prove it and resign. Contest the elections on the BJP ticket so that we can see who are the people who told these MLAs to leave Congress and join BJP.”

‘MLAs succumbed to greed, allowed themselves to be purchased like cattle’
FIR registered over AAP charge of BJP ‘offering money’ to MLAs
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

The Punjab Police on Wednesday registered a case after a delegation of AAP MLAs led by finance minister Harpal Singh Cheema complained to DGP Gaurav Yadav, accusing the BJP of offering Rs 20-25 crore in an attempt to poach its MLAs to topple the government in Punjab.Following a complaint, an FIR was registered under Section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, and Sections 171-B and 120-B of IPC.The move comes on a day after eight Congress MLAs in Goa joined the BJP, and a day earlier, the ruling AAP said that at least 10 of its MLAs were approached by the BJP with an offer of Rs 25 crore each if they jump boats.Earlier in the day, Cheema addressed a press conference and said that they have enough evidence to prove the horse-trading attempt. He said that Jalandhar MLA Sheetal Angural received a threat call on Tuesday that he should not make evidence of BJP’s calls to him public. “He was threatened to be eliminated and so we are going to the DGP with all evidence… The BJP’s Operation Lotus in Goa is a proof in itself that the party was moving ahead in non-BJP states by launching its Operation Lotus by illegal means,” Cheema said, adding that Operation Lotus already failed in Punjab.Jalandhar Central MLA Raman Arora added that he first received a call 10 days ago and the caller said “sangathan ke log aap ko milna chahte hain.” He added, “I ignored it but two days later, I received another call in which I was offered Rs 25 crore for joining the BJP. I promptly informed the party (AAP) and also shared the number from which I had received the call.”Meanwhile, CM Bhagwant Mann, in a video message from Germany, asked MLAs to not be disloyal to their motherland. “BJP tried this Operation Lotus in Delhi also but it failed. Punjabis are loyal to the motherland…”Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inboxAmid crisis in Punjab, AAP chief and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal called the party’s MLAs from the state for a meeting in Delhi. Sources said that this meeting was being held in light of Operation Lotus being conducted by BJP. Also, they said that while he is likely to tell them not to get scared by any threats, he would also assign duties to these MLAs for the coming elections in the state.Meanwhile, Punjab BJP president Ashwani Kumar Sharma said, “Go, get an FIR lodged, the police is yours, sarkar is yours… BJP will not run away, rather we will take on the government and tackle every such vague allegation head-on. The fact is that it (AAP) has been completely cornered over the excise policy which was withdrawn in Delhi but implemented in Punjab…”

FIR registered over AAP charge of BJP ‘offering money’ to MLAs
As 8 Congress MLAs in Goa join BJP, in Punjab, AAP lodges complaint with DGP about plan to topple government
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

On a day when eight Congress MLAs in Goa joined the BJP, Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Cheema led a group of 12 AAP MLAs to lodge a complaint with Director General of Police Gaurav Yadav about the “efforts being made by BJP to topple the Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab”.Cheema’s move to lodge a complaint, along with evidence, on Wednesday came a day after he had alleged that AAP MLAs in the state were being offered Rs 20 crore to Rs 25 crore to join the BJP. Even as AAP MLAs in the state put up a united front before the media, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, in a video from Germany, exhorted them not to be disloyal to their “motherland”.“They tried this Operation Lotus in Delhi also but it failed. No MLA was sold,” Mann said in a video message from Germany, where he is participating in a trade expo. Mann said he wanted to tell the BJP that “Punjabis are loyal to the motherland”.“I want to tell them (BJP) that Alexander was stopped by Punjabis when he was out to win the world. I am sure our MLAs will be loyal to their motherland. They would not be sold, stopped and buckled. The BJP thinks that if they cannot get voted to power through democratic process, they can grab power using money. I am sure my colleagues would show their loyalty towards the motherland, I have no doubt on their loyalty. Together, we have dreamt of resurrecting Punjab. We will realise that dream. The BJP is unable to fathom the good work of AAP. That is why they are resorting to all this,” Mann said.In Punjab, addressing a press conference, Cheema said that Operation Lotus had failed in the state. “If anyone is challenging BJP then it is AAP. BJP will not succeed in this. Legislators are with AAP and Arvind Kejriwal. They would not quit AAP even if Rs 2,500 crore is given to them,” he said.Before lodging a complaint with the DGP, Cheema, flanked by Deputy Speaker in Vidhan Sabha Jai Krishan Singh Rori and MLAs Budh Ram, Manjit Singh Bilaspur, Kulwant Singh Pandori, Dinesh Chadha, Narinder Kaur Bharaaj, Taranpreet Singh Sond, Raman Arora, Pushpinder Singh Happy, Rajnish Dahiya, Kuljit Singh Randhawa, Sheetal Angural and Labh Singh Ughoke addressed the media.Cheema said that all the MLAs with him had proof that they had got calls (from BJP). “I am not revealing that. We want to give it in our complaint first. Then we will make it public,” he said.Cheema said that Jalandhar MLA Sheetal Angural had received a threatening call on Tuesday warning him that he should not make the evidence of BJP calls to him public. “He was threatened to be eliminated. We are going to the DGP with all evidence,” Cheema said.The BJP’s claims that he was lying have fallen flat, Cheema said, after Congress MLAs from Goa jumped ship and joined BJP. The developments in Goa on Wednesday were proof that BJP was moving ahead by launching its Operation Lotus in non-BJP states, he added.Later, Cabinet minister Aman Arora also addressed the media and stated that all MLAs were with Kejriwal and Mann and they would not let BJP’s designs come true.The state BJP unit on Wednesday “welcomed” AAP’s move to lodge a complaint, saying “the guilty must be exposed” but questioned why Cheema did not disclose names of MLAs who got such calls and why they had not lodged an FIR till date.“We welcome the step of AAP to lodge a formal complaint before the DGP…Let the whole issue be inquired (into) and the guilty be exposed before the masses. Only then will the truth come out as to who had made the phone calls,” Anil Sarin, chief spokesperson of BJP Punjab, said.“Go, get an FIR lodged…police is yours, sarkar is yours…let people be exposed. BJP will not run away…,” state BJP president Ashwani Kumar Sharma said. Reacting to the AAP allegations that BJP’s Operation Lotus had failed in Delhi, Sharma said, “Even in Delhi, they did the same drama. They could not prove anything but only distracted…same plot is being played now.”Meanwhile, BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh demanded a CBI probe into the allegations made by the AAP leaders.(With inputs from Raakhi Jagga)

As 8 Congress MLAs in Goa join BJP, in Punjab, AAP lodges complaint with DGP about plan to topple government
A lot can happen over 6 months in Goa: From pre-2022 polls, to post results, and now
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

The smallest state in the country, Goa has just 40 members in its state Assembly. But as the latest round of defections shows, there is no end to the permutations and combinations that can be weaved with those numbers in its volatile, multi-party politics.Since its transition to a full-fledged state 35 years ago, in 1987, Goa has had 16 chief ministers, with some holding office for barely a month or even less.Here is how the situation stood before it went to elections earlier this year:* BJP: The ruling BJP’s campaign was spearheaded by sitting Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, who took over the reins after party stalwart and former CM Manohar Parrikar’s demise in 2019.The BJP had lost the elections technically in 2017, with 13 seats against the Congress’s 17. However, it managed to cobble up a majority by tying up with regional parties like the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Goa Forward Party (GFP), and two Independents.In 2019, 10 Congress MLAs and two MGP MLAs defected to the BJP, bouncing it to a comfortable position. Out went the alliance partners from the government.Before the polls, the BJP lost two MLAs, one each to the Congress and AAP, and inducted one legislator each from the Congress and GFP. One of those around whom there was huge speculation at the time was sitting Ports Minister Michael Lobo, who did eventually leave to join the Congress – only to return to the BJP on Wednesday.Congress: The party, which saw power slip out of its hands in 2017 despite being short by just 4 MLAs for a simple majority, went into the Assembly elections with just 2 sitting MLAs. After the 2019 defection, it had also seen 2 MLAs switch to newbie Trinamool Congress and one more to the BJP.BJP ex-allies: Miffed by the BJP, the MGP and GFP went into the 2022 election forging new alliances – the MGP with the TMC, and the GFP with the Congress.AAP, RG: Among new entrants was the Aam Aadmi Party, which greeted Wednesday’s defection news by repeating allegations of ‘Operation Lotus’ against the BJP. Also in the race was a regional outfit, Revolutionary Goans (RG), with an “anti-migrant” plank.TMC: It floated a proposal for a large Opposition alliance for the polls, expressing willingness to join hands with the Congress among others. The Congress was not enthused, with party observer for the polls P Chidambaram accusing the TMC and AAP of “fracturing” the anti-BJP votes, maintaining that only the Congress could defeat the BJP in Goa.After the results:The BJP won 20 of the 40 seats. Soon after the poll results, two MLAs of the MGP, which had fought in alliance with the TMC, gave their support to the BJP, as did 3 Independents, taking the BJP strength to 25.The Congress won 11 seats, AAP two, and GFP and RG 1 seat each. The TMC could not open its tally.With Wednesday’s defection, the BJP is up to 28 in the Assembly, while the two MGP MLAs and 3 Independents continue to support it.The Congress, reduced to 2 last time round, is down to 3.

A lot can happen over 6 months in Goa: From pre-2022 polls, to post results, and now
Amid BJP’s claims of a wave, AAP tries to create a splash in Gujarat
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

On September 8, while addressing a gathering of beneficiaries of central schemes, BJP state chief C R Paatil took the trouble to calculate and note how the various guarantees announced by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) would cost the public exchequer Rs 41,607 crore annually, thus far overshooting the state’s annual budget. It was at an event in Olpad taluka of Surat district, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi would later speak to beneficiaries of central schemes and would also remember the late Union Textiles Minister Kashiram Rana, with whom he had a bitter fallout.Three days before this, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, while addressing a Parivartan Sankalp rally in Ahmedabad, announced eight guarantees, something that political parties usually do not do until close to the elections.Ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal appears to be redefining the rules of the game.Even as the BJP was talking about the Gujarat model, the sudden ouster of the Vijay Rupani government a year ago, the stripping of key portfolios of two ministers in the new Bhupendra Patel government, the agitations by various government employees for grade pay, and the hooch tragedy which claimed 42 lives, have given fodder to the Opposition to take on the government over its governance claims.Even as Kejriwal promised a Delhi model for Gujarat if AAP won the elections, the Congress has recently begun talking about a ‘Rajasthan model’ in its rallies, having assigned the responsibility of the state elections to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in addition to his former health minister and AICC general secretary Raghu Sharma.Since May, Kejriwal has visited Gujarat at least a dozen times, each time announcing a guarantee and holding a town hall. The AAP has so far announced nine guarantees, and the Congress eight, many of them overlapping — like the 300 units of free electricity and jobs to the unemployed.Veteran BJP leaders will tell you there is no space for a third party in Gujarat and that AAP would only eat into Congress votes, but there are younger leaders in the party who admit, “even if one MLA of AAP wins, it will be bad for us”.The fear is not so much for the upcoming Assembly election as it is for the 2024 general elections, given that this is the home state of the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister. It is not so much for AAP’s numbers as much as it is “for the noise it makes”, says a party leader.Around the time Lieutenant General of Delhi V K Saxena was raising questions on the AAP government’s amended excise policy, Kejriwal was in Gujarat meeting victims of a hooch tragedy in Bhavnagar — the constituency of Education Minister Jitu Vaghani, with whom his deputy Manish Sisodia has had a direct confrontation over the state of schools.With Goa declaring AAP as a state party in August after it won two seats with a vote share of 6.77 per cent, Kejriwal had proclaimed that if one more state recognised it as a state party, AAP would be a national party. In both Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, the party has decided to contest on all seats.A week ago, Kejriwal had taunted the Centre saying the ED raids on Sisodia would lead to a 4 per cent rise in AAP’s vote share in Gujarat and that if he was arrested, it would take the party’s vote share to 6 per cent.In the 2017 elections, AAP had contested only 29 seats in Gujarat, losing deposits on all and ending up with a vote share of just 0.10 per cent, which was far below even the NOTA option, which had a vote share of 1.84 per cent. This time, the AAP has already announced candidates for 39 Assembly seats in Gujarat.Leaders in the Congress and BJP often say that the AAP’s term in Punjab will leave it exposed since governing a full-fledged state — unlike Delhi — is a completely different ball game.However, if the sheer number of ‘Ek mauko Kejriwal ne (One chance to Kejriwal)’ slogans, brazenly painted on the walls across the city and boldly on the pillars of the Metro Project in Ahmedabad, are anything to go by, or if the number of autos with the same slogan and Kejriwal’s poster smiling from its hoods are an indicator, the AAP has certainly kicked up a storm, at least among the middle class and underprivileged sections of Gujarat.Kejriwal’s town hall in Bhavnagar had seen jawans of the Gujarat Industrial Security Force (GISF) come in their uniforms and complain about their low pay grades.The frequent clashes between AAP and BJP workers, especially in Surat, also point to a nervousness in the BJP camp since this the bastion of its leader C R Paatil, who is not only an MP from Surat but the party’s state chief, whom Prime Minister Narendra Modi is known to trust.Paatil, who had in an interview to The Indian Express soon after his appointment said that he would resign if the BJP got even one seat less than 182 — the total seats in the Assembly — is now avoiding quoting a victory number. “The army is ready, as are the arms, for the battle…there should be no sympathy,” Paatil said at the rally on September 8m adding that the winning margin should be 50,000 votes on every seat. In the current Assembly, the BJP has 111 seats while the main Opposition Congress has 63.Having said in 2020 that the party with 1.13 crore workers would not need to “import anyone”, Paatil has since then brought on board young leaders disgruntled with the Congress, including Hardik Patel, Jairajsinh Parmar and Vishwanath Vaghela.The prospect that these ‘imported’ leaders could be given tickets to contest the elections is causing discomfort among younger leaders in the BJP. To that, a senior state BJP leader says, “Everyone understands that if we have to win the election, and if these leaders make for good candidates, they will get tickets”.It was in Surat, where, within seven months of Paatil as BJP chief, that the AAP won 27 of 120 seats in the Municipal Corporation in the local body elections held in February 2021, and became the main Opposition. The clashes between the BJP and AAP have only increased since then, the latest being at a Ganesh pandal set up by the AAP, where one of its state secretaries, Manoj Sorathiya, was seriously injured.On September 3, Kejriwal returned to Surat, where he had announced the AAP’s first guarantee in July, to participate in the Ganesh aarti with Sorathiya.While the Congress has been calling AAP the “B-team of the BJP” and the AAP has been blaming the Congress as “an ally” of the BJP, Kejriwal’s silence on the release of the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case, and his cries of ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ at his public rallies, indicate that he is out to get the Hindu vote.Like a former Rajya Sabha MP of the BJP said, “If nothing, AAP has managed to keep our cadres alert, which is good.”

Amid BJP’s claims of a wave, AAP tries to create a splash in Gujarat
Five Chandigarh BJP councillors back out of revised study tour
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

Five BJP councillors from Chandigarh Municipal Corporation on Thursday backed out of the revised ‘study tour’ to Indore and Nagpur, even as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) permitted its councillors to join the trip.The study tour — which was initially scheduled for Goa-Mumbai and had drawn widespread criticism both from residents as well as the Opposition as a criminal waste of public funds — was on Tuesday finally set for Indore and Nagpur by Chandigarh Administrator Banwarilal Purohit, who wanted the councillors to “visit progressive cities”.On Tuesday, Mayor Sarabjit Kaur and Deputy Mayor, Anup Gupta were summoned by the Chandigarh Administrator regarding the proposed study tour to Goa and Mumbai where Administrator was of the opinion that “the delegation must visit Indore, which was ranked 1 among all cities in the last Swacch Survekshan, and learn from the good practices there.He further suggested that they should visit the state-of-art bio methanation plant at Indore, which was recently inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and study the suitability of replicating the same in the city. Purohit further said that the councillors should visit the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, which is a pioneer in the field of waste management and water bodies rejuvenation.Post nod from the UT admin, the councillors were asked to give their consent for the revised tour, which will now take place from September 10-16.As per reports, eight BJP councillors and nine AAP councillors have given their consent for the revised tour.  On Thursday, The Indian Express learnt that Chandigarh mayor Sarabjit Kaur’s husband, Jagtar Singh Dhillon’s name had been added to the list of people travelling for the tour, which will see the councillors flying out at 3.25 pm on Saturday.Till the filing of the report, flight tickets for BJP’s mayor Sarabjit Kaur and her husband Jagtar Dhillon, councillors Saurabh Joshi, Manoj Kumar, Dalip Sharma, Anup Gupta, Kuljeet Sandhu, Jasmanpreet Singh, Kanwarjeet Rana, Rajinder, and for all nine AAP councillors as well as two councillors from the Congress —  Gurbax Rawat and Jasbir Singh Bunty —  had been booked by the administration .A flight ticket to and fro will cost the Chandigarh exchequer approximately Rs 17,000 per person. Apart from the councillors, four-five officers of the civic body — including joint commissioner Gurinder Singh Sodhi — will be a part of the tour.  Prodded about her husband joining the tour, Jagtar Dhillon on Thursday told The Indian Express, “She hasn’t travelled to any place alone before this. I accompany her even when she goes to Chandigarh. She wants me to come along with her, else I wouldn’t have agreed.”On the fact that some BJP councillors, who had initially given their consent for Goa-Mumbai but had backed out of the revised study tour, Dhillon, who is a former BJP councillor, said, “I think they had some personal problems. One councillor has a disc problem I was told. One other councillor backed out as she has her son’s wedding the next month.”AAP councillors set to join tripThe Chandigarh unit of Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday gave permission to all its councillors to join the study tour to Indore and Nagpur.Pardeep Chhabra, AAP’s Chandigarh co-incharge confirmed that they had given permission to all their councillors to join the revised study tour, despite the AAP having earlier decided to boycott and having voted against the study tour to Goa-Mumbai. The Congress, BJP and the SAD had voted in favour of teh tour during the House meeting.On the AAP joining the tour, Yogesh Dhingra, Leader of Opposition said, “ The trip to Goa was entirely a junket andthat is why we were opposed to it. Yes, there is a lot to learn from cities like Indore and Nagpur and that is why we are going.”The Administrator has directed the group to table a study report within one month of the visit.

Five Chandigarh BJP councillors back out of revised study tour
Behind AAP’s ‘Make India No. 1’ launch in Hisar — make it in Haryana
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

On Wednesday, AAP launched its ambitious “Make India No.1” campaign from Hisar in Haryana with the party’s national convener Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann spending two days in the district to energise party workers and supporters.Behind that ambitious slogan, however, is a more immediate target: Make it in Haryana, starting with the Adampur bypoll that is around the corner in Hisar.The party’s itinerary for the two leaders is a giveaway — as is its action plan over the past few months.On Wednesday, after interacting with youths in Hisar, Kejriwal will visit the residence of local leader Sonali Phogat who died under mysterious circumstances in Goa last month. Sonali had contested the 2019 Assembly election as a BJP candidate from Adampur but lost to Kuldeep Bishnoi of the Congress.On Thursday, Kejiwal and Mann will address a rally in Adampur town after a roadshow in the area. Kejriwal, incidentally, hails from Siwani town in the neighbouring Bhiwani district.The Adampur bypoll has been necessitated by the resignation of Bishnoi from the Haryana Vidhan Sabha. Following his differences with former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Bishnoi had left the Congress and joined the BJP. And due to the district’s close proximity to the national capital, the bypoll is bound to draw attention.AAP has also decided to contest the panchayat polls for Zila Parishad seats, which is expected to be announced soon. In June, the party had contested the civic body polls, fielding candidates for municipal chief in 45 civic bodies and securing 1.31 lakh votes — 10.19 per cent of the total votes polled. It also succeeded in opening its account by winning a relatively smaller municipality, Ismailabad, in Kaithal district.AAP leaders claim the party’s candidates secured nearly 16 per cent votes in the municipalities situated in the north zone of the state, which is considered a stronghold of BJP. At the same time, some of them acknowledge that they had expected a far better performance, especially after the stunning victory in neighbouring Punjab in the Assembly polls — and with the principal opposition Congress not in the battlefield actively.But they also pointed to a silver lining: participation in local polls has helped in creating a cadre at the grassroot level for future contests.AAP’s push for Haryana was visible in May, when Kejriwal addressed a rally in Kurukshetra, which was named “Aab Badlega Haryana”. He had also challenged the ruling BJP in the state to contest the 2024 Assembly election under the leadership of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, in a veiled attack on Khattar’s hold among voters.The AAP had contested the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls but could not perform well. Party leaders now hope that the renewed push will help the party turn the corner – starting with the Adampur bypoll, which will be announced soon.

Behind AAP’s ‘Make India No. 1’ launch in Hisar — make it in Haryana
No trip to Goa, UT admin instead approves ‘study tour’ to Indore & Nagpur
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

UT Administrator Banwarilal Purohit on Tuesday, in another twist to the study-tour saga, gave his nod for the proposed tour but changed the venues from Goa and Mumbai to Indore and Nagpur, while underlining the fact that the councillors “must visit progressive cities.”The study tour — which has drawn much flak from both the residents and Opposition AAP councillors as wastage of public funds — had been approved during a House meeting of the civic body last month, after which the file was sent to the secretary of local government of the Chandigarh administration, who in this case is Principal Secretary (Home), Nitin Kumar Yadav, for clearance.Yadav, in turn, had sent back the file back to the UT municipal corporation with multiple queries, one of which read “how and why is this tour unique.”On Tuesday, Mayor Sarabjit Kaur and Deputy Mayor, Anup Gupta were summoned by the Chandigarh Administrator regarding the proposed study tour to Goa and Mumbai.Sharing details of their meeting, mayor Sarbjit Kaur Dhillon, said that Purohit had encouraged the councillors to go on the study tour but stated that they must visit “progressive cities to get maximum exposure and ensure that the learnings can be brought backa dn implemented in Chandigarh.”“The Administrator was of the opinion that the delegation must visit Indore, which was ranked 1 among all cities in the last Swacch Survekshan, and learn from the good practices there. He further suggested that they should visit the state-of-art bio methanation plant at Indore, which was recently inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and study the suitability of replicating the same in the city. Purohit further said that the councillors should visit the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, which is a pioneer in the field of waste management and water bodies rejuvenation,” a statement issued by the civic body on Tuesday said.The statement further added that the mayor stating that NEERI was the technical consultant for not just the Goa Solid Waste Management Plant, but also the Clean Ganges project.“The Administrator has granted permission for the delegation of councillors to visit the cities of Indore and Nagpur and has directed them to table a study report within one month of the visit,” the statement said.The statement further reads, “The UT mayor further believes that visiting different parts of the country broadens the horizons of the councillors and leaves a lasting impact on their working styles.The councilors of the civic body must go on exposure visits to different parts of country as they can learn from others and implement their good practices in Chandigarh.”Officials in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation said that now a meeting will be held to decide on the dates of the tour to the two Indore and Nagpur, as well as consent will be sought from councillors willing to undertake the trip.The Chandigarh civic body in a House meeting last month had not only approved a study tour to Goa, but had added an additional day of stay in the coastal state, besides also adding Mumbai to the itinerary. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had not voted in favour of the study tour during the House meeting, while councillors from the BJP and Congress along with a SAD councillor had.AAP councillor Jasbir Singh had in a letter later even told the Municipal Commissioner that this study tour was a criminal wastage of public money.

No trip to Goa, UT admin instead approves ‘study tour’ to Indore & Nagpur
UT slams brakes on Goa-Mumbai study tour
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

The Chandigarh administration on Monday raised objections to a proposed ‘study tour’ by the UT civic body to Goa-Mumbai, sending the file back to the municipal corporation with multiple queries, one of which read “how and why is this tour unique.”The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation had sent the file seeking approval from the administration for the study tour to Goa and Mumbai which is proposed to be conducted sometime in September.The study tour — which has drawn much flak from both the residents and Opposition AAP councillors as a wastage of public funds — was approved during a House meeting of the civic body, after which the file for the same was sent to the secretary of local government of the Chandigarh administration, who in this case is Principal Secretary (Home), Nitin Kumar Yadav.Joint commissioner of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, Gurinder Singh Sodhi, while speaking to The Indian Express, said, “The administration has raised some queries regarding the purpose of the tour, what are we going to study there and specifics as to which plants will be studied and why. We will be sending our replies to the queries soon. ”When contacted, Chandigarh Mayor Sarabjit Kaur, told The Indian Express said, “I have come to know that some objections have been raised by the administration on the file that we sent. The tour was passed by the councillors and is for the councillors. My duty is to implement any decision that is passed in the House. As a Mayor, I keep getting invites from various cities, but these councillors don’t get any opportunities to learn from other states/cities, how they are faring. There are many new councillors in the House. This is the right opportunity for them to learn what is happening. The House passed a decision and the same was sent to the secretary of the local government “Prodded about the widespread criticism the tour has received and asked if she would be joining the tour, the mayor said, “I being the head of the family have to join the tour. The point is, there is misinformation in the public. The tour will help us all learn something and implement the lessons here.“Tour is fine, but prune strength of delegation: CongressThe president of Congress’ Chandigarh unit on Monday said that the party had no objections against the study tours but it was important to prune the delegation. “It isn’t wise that a lot of 30 people go the tour. We have decided that only two of our councillors will join the tour, if it is approved. Moreover, it is important that the good practices learnt from other cities be implemented back in Chandigarh and for that we feel that two councillors are enough,” said HS Lucky, the Chandigarh unit head of the Congress.AAP not to join tour citing criminal waste of public fundsThe Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had not voted in favour of the study tour during the House meeting, while councillors from the BJP and Congress along with a Shiromani Akali Dal councillor had.The tour was initially scheduled to be three nights to Goa, with BJP councillors later getting an additional night added, besides adding Mumbai to the travel itinerary.AAP councillor Jasbir Singh had in a letter earlier even told the UT Municipal Commissioner that this study tour was a criminal wastage of public money.

UT slams brakes on Goa-Mumbai study tour
BJP leader slams own party for Goa-Mumbai ‘study tour’
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

A proposed BJP-led “study tour” by councillors of the Chandigrah Municipal Corporation to study the waste management at Goa and in Mumbai came under heavy criticism on Saturday again, with the saffron party’s own leader, Satinder Singh, dubbing it as a waste of funds that otherwise could have been spent for the welfare of people of the city.BJP leader Singh on Saturday became the first leader from the ruling party to raise objections against the upcoming tour, which so far has been slammed by the Opposition Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as well as various resident welfare associations.Speaking to The Indian Express, Singh asked, “If the civic body themselves have claimed that the legacy waste at Dadu Majra will soon be cleaned, then what is this study tour being undertaken for? There is nothing to study during the tour. It will just be a leisure trip for the councillors.” Singh, a former civic body councillor, added that the money being spent on the tour ought to be spent on the people of Chandigarh.“I was also the councillor in 2011. I remember I received a letter seeking my consent and asking me to choose the places where I wanted to go for a study tour. I remember I had then replied back stating that whatever money they proposed to spend on me and my hotel stay should rather be spent on my ward,” he said.Singh further said, “As far as I know, the agenda for the study tour that came up during my time did not have a mention as to why we were visiting that particular place, what were the merits of the place, and what basically we were expected to learn during the tour.”The BJP leader then went on to echo what the Opposition has been stating and said that even if a trip was really necessary, then just or three councillors – like the ones from Dadu Majra and nearby wards — could have been sent.“Let the sanitation committee decide if the problem in Chandigarh is about sanitation at all or not. What is the need of 35 people packing their bags and going to Goa and Mumbai? Moreover, if your wives and children tag along with you on an official tour, then it no longer remains a study tour. It becomes a leisure trip for mauj masti,” he said.Singh added that safeguarding public money was their duty.“It is a crime to misuse the money of taxpayers. When we get elected as councillors, we promise the people that we will work for them, spend the money of taxpayers on development. Are we really doing it? I think this is an abuse of people’s trust as well,” Singh added.Singh added, “You say that the waste at Dadu Majra will be cleared soon. All best possible efforts have been put in to ensure it is being cleared. Then I don’t understand why are they going on a study tour,” he added.Prodded that he himself belonged to the BJP, the party that was leading the proposed tour, Singh said he had the right to his own opinions. “By saying that those who are protesting against this tour are behaving immaturely, you are effectively calling the citizens of Chandigarh immature,” he added.The Chandigarh civic body, in its last House meeting had seen its BJP and Congress councillors voting in favour of a study tour to Goa and Mumbai. The Aam Aadmi Party councillors had not voted in favour of the tour.The municipal corporation had later sent a communiqué to all its councillors seeking consent for the tour to be organised later in September.Calling it an “abuse of public money”, AAP councillor Jasbir Singh had earlier this week even written to the UT Municipal Commissioner, Anindita Mitra, against conducting the study tour.In his letter, Jasbir refused to give consent and said that he was shocked that the civic body was trying to get the tour organised even after facing severe backlash from the public.He also mentioned, “Despite having wasted several crores of the taxpayer’s money on junkets like these for over a decade, you still insist on continuing to indulge in this criminal waste”. Refusing to give his consent, Jasbir had said, “I formally register my protest against blatant abuse of power, abuse of public money, and abuse of people’s trust.”The resident welfare associations, too, in a meeting held last week also condemned the study tour proposed and approved in the House.

BJP leader slams own party for Goa-Mumbai ‘study tour’
Crimes on rise, Goa CM Pramod Sawant must resign as home minister: AAP
Times of India | 3 weeks ago | |
Times of India
3 weeks ago | |

PANAJI: AAP on Friday demanded the resignation of chief minister Pramod Sawant as home minister and called for a dedicated home minister to be appointed in the wake of the rise in criminal activity in the state. The party also alleged political interference from ministers and MLAs in police investigations. “The increased crime rate has been affecting the tourism industry in the state. Since the mining industry closed, only tourism has provided a stable source of revenue. However, if law and order is not controlled, the situation will worsen, which will adversely affect the tourism industry,” AAP Goa unit president, Amit Palekar said. AAP said Sawant has been unable to control the law and order situation as he is handling numerous portfolios. The law and order situation in the state has reached a crisis level, AAP vice-president Valmiki Naik said. “There have been cases in the state where victims were connected to BJP as leaders or karyakartas and the party was not able to deliver justice to their own people. What kind of justice can common people expect from BJP?” Naik said. He also alleged that Goa police have been unable to register FIRs owing to political interference. “In some cases, Goa police has registered cases only as a result of media pressure or as a result of family pressure. Be it the murder case of Sonali Phogat or the accident on the Mandovi bridge. Despite the major allegations made by the parents of the victim, neither the driver nor the occupants of the car have been taken into custody in the Mandovi bridge accident case,” Naik said.

Crimes on rise, Goa CM Pramod Sawant must resign as home minister: AAP
  • Crimes on rise, Sawant must resign as home min: AAP
  • Times of India

    Panaji: AAP on Friday demanded the resignation of chief minister Pramod Sawant as home minister and called for a dedicated home minister to be appointed in the wake of the rise in criminal activity in the state.The party also alleged political interference from ministers and MLAs in police investigations.“The increased crime rate has been affecting the tourism industry in the state. Since the mining industry closed, only tourism has provided a stable source of revenue. However, if law and order is not controlled, the situation will worsen, which will adversely affect the tourism industry,” AAP Goa unit president, Amit Palekar said.AAP said Sawant has been unable to control the law and order situation as he is handling numerous portfolios. The law and order situation in the state has reached a crisis level, AAP vice-president Valmiki Naik said. “There have been cases in the state where victims were connected to BJP as leaders or karyakartas and the party was not able to deliver justice to their own people. What kind of justice can common people expect from BJP?” Naik said.He also alleged that Goa police have been unable to register FIRs owing to political interference. “In some cases, Goa police has registered cases only as a result of media pressure or as a result of family pressure. Be it the murder case of Sonali Phogat or the accident on the Mandovi bridge. Despite the major allegations made by the parents of the victim, neither the driver nor the occupants of the car have been taken into custody in the Mandovi bridge accident case,” Naik said.

Rise in criminal activity: AAP seeks Goa CM Pramod Sawant’s ouster
Times of India | 3 weeks ago | |
Times of India
3 weeks ago | |

PANAJI: The Aam Aadmi Party on Friday demanded the resignation of CM Pramod Sawant as home minister and has called for a dedicated home minister to be appointed in wake of rise in criminal activity in the state. "The increased crime rate has been affecting the tourism industry in the state. Since the mining industry closed, only tourism has provided a stable source of revenue. However, if law and order is not controlled, the situation will worsen, which will adversely affect the tourism industry,” AAP Goa unit president, Adv Amit Palekar said. The party stated that as CM Sawant has been handling numerous other portfolios, which is why he has not been able to control the law and order situation. "Therefore, CM Sawant must step down from the position of home minister and a dedicated home minister should be appointed for the state's benefit", Palekar demanded. He blamed political interference from BJP Ministers and MLAs for the Goa Police's inability to resolve the crime. The law and order situation in the state has reached a crisis level, AAP vice president Valmiki Naik said. “There have been cases in the state where victims were connected to the BJP party as leaders or karyakartas and the BJP was not able to deliver justice to their own people. What kind of justice can common people expect from the BJP?” Naik asked. Naik also alleged that Goa Police have been unable to register FIRs owing to political interference. "In some cases, the Goa Police has registered the cases only as a result of media pressure, or as a result of family pressure. Be it the murder case of Sonali Phogat or the accident on the Mandovi Bridge. Despite the major allegations made by the parents of the victim, neither the driver nor occupants of the car have been taken into custody in the Mandovi Bridge accident case,” Naik stated.

Rise in criminal activity: AAP seeks Goa CM Pramod Sawant’s ouster
  • ‘Goa police offer no help in any case’
  • Times of India

    GOA: Based on Priteesh's confession the Hyderabad-Narcotic Enforcement Wing (H-NEW) found that Edwin was among the six people who allegedly supplied drugs in bulk to him, who in turn supplied to as many as 600 clients across the country. Of them, 160 are from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. But not just this incident, according to Anand, Goa police offer no help to their Hyderabad counterparts in any case. "Each time we go there to nab someone, the person manages to evade us...There is nothing to hide, we can openly say that Goa police is not cooperative...Whenever we communicate with them on drug related cases, we get negative response," he added.

CM Kejriwal: BJP found nothing in liquor policy, so they’re after schools
The Indian Express | 4 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
4 weeks ago | |

Following allegations of ‘corruption’ in construction of classrooms levelled by the BJP and L-G VK Saxena against the AAP-led Delhi government, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Monday said they are going after schools as they couldn’t find anything against the liquor policy.Tabling a confidence motion in the Delhi Assembly, he said: “For the last 10-15 days, we have been seeing nautankibaazi (drama)… AAP has eaten money in liquor policy… but they found nothing… Now, they have received an order from above to not speak about the liquor policy anymore… They are now after our schools… asking why did you construct more classrooms and increase the number of toilets…”The session saw BJP MLAs being marshalled out after they demanded a short discussion on the excise policy and school classrooms allegations. Kejriwal said: “This is an important day and we are going to table the confidence motion. But on such a day, the opposition did not want to be involved in a good discussion. They only want to do cheap politics and nautanki (drama)…”On the need for this motion, Kejriwal said: “Through this, we want to show that every single AAP MLA and leader is kattar imandar (honest) and to show that their (BJP’s) ‘Operation Lotus’ may have succeeded in other states but (not) in Delhi.”Leader of opposition Ramvir Singh Bidhuri said, “You have 62 MLAs out of 70 and what is the need for this motion… It is a publicity stunt to hide the truth.”“We wanted to discuss the excise policy and CVC’s report on classrooms, but they don’t want to discuss it… Every time, we raise a matter, they marshal us all out…”AAP targets L-G with graft claimsAAP leaders, during a special assembly session, levelled allegations of “corruption” and “money laundering” against L-G Vinai Kumar Saxena. The L-G’s office did not respond to calls and messages seeking a comment.Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inboxAAP MLAs announced they will hold an “overnight protest” at the Gandhi statue inside the Vidhan Sabha — from 7 pm on Monday until Tuesday morning — to demand a CBI probe against the L-G. Speaking at the session, AAP leader and Rajinder Nagar MLA Durgesh Pathak alleged: “Saxena committed a scam to the tune Rs 1,400 crore in the name of ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ when he was serving as chairman of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).”

CM Kejriwal: BJP found nothing in liquor policy, so they’re after schools
  • CM: BJP found nothing in liquor policy, so they’re after schools
  • The Indian Express

    Following allegations of ‘corruption’ in construction of classrooms levelled by the BJP and L-G VK Saxena against the AAP-led Delhi government, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Monday said they are going after schools as they couldn’t find anything against the liquor policy.Tabling a confidence motion in the Delhi Assembly, he said: “For the last 10-15 days, we have been seeing nautankibaazi (drama)… AAP has eaten money in liquor policy… but they found nothing… Now, they have received an order from above to not speak about the liquor policy anymore… They are now after our schools… asking why did you construct more classrooms and increase the number of toilets…”The session saw BJP MLAs being marshalled out after they demanded a short discussion on the excise policy and school classrooms allegations. Kejriwal said: “This is an important day and we are going to table the confidence motion. But on such a day, the opposition did not want to be involved in a good discussion. They only want to do cheap politics and nautanki (drama)…”On the need for this motion, Kejriwal said: “Through this, we want to show that every single AAP MLA and leader is kattar imandar (honest) and to show that their (BJP’s) ‘Operation Lotus’ may have succeeded in other states but (not) in Delhi.”Leader of opposition Ramvir Singh Bidhuri said, “You have 62 MLAs out of 70 and what is the need for this motion… It is a publicity stunt to hide the truth.”“We wanted to discuss the excise policy and CVC’s report on classrooms, but they don’t want to discuss it… Every time, we raise a matter, they marshal us all out…”AAP targets L-G with graft claimsAAP leaders, during a special assembly session, levelled allegations of “corruption” and “money laundering” against L-G Vinai Kumar Saxena. The L-G’s office did not respond to calls and messages seeking a comment.Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inboxAAP MLAs announced they will hold an “overnight protest” at the Gandhi statue inside the Vidhan Sabha — from 7 pm on Monday until Tuesday morning — to demand a CBI probe against the L-G. Speaking at the session, AAP leader and Rajinder Nagar MLA Durgesh Pathak alleged: “Saxena committed a scam to the tune Rs 1,400 crore in the name of ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ when he was serving as chairman of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).”

Maharashtra, Goa… BJP topples govts, now after us: Kejriwal
The Indian Express | 4 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
4 weeks ago | |

DELHI CHIEF Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Friday that the case against his deputy, Manish Sisodia, was part of a “pattern” by the BJP to topple elected governments.Speaking at a one-day special session of the Delhi Assembly, Kejriwal reiterated what he had tweeted a day earlier — that there is a new “serial killer” on the loose, a potshot at the BJP trying to bring down elected state governments. “Others form governments, they bring them down. They have trampled on citizens. People selected a government in states like Maharashtra and Goa, they toppled it… they are after the people… the pattern is the same everywhere… First they sent the CBI and ED after (Health Minister Satyendar) Jain, now they are targeting Sisodia,” he said.Kejriwal also said the case against Sisodia was not meant to fight corruption but rather to satisfy one person’s “lust for power”. “The case filed against Manish Sisodia is completely fake… They (BJP) are saying it’s a fight against corruption, but it is not… yeh kisi ek insaan ki satta ki hawas ki ladai hai (This is a fight for one man’s lust for power),” he said.He added: “Yeh ladai ek aadmi ke swaarth ki ladai hai (This is one man’s fight for selfishness)… On August 15, standing at Red Fort, he said, ‘I am fighting against corruption, I need your support, my countrymen’… Sahab, if you were fighting against corruption, you would not have had to ask the countrymen for support… This shows the countrymen are not with you… you are doing drama (nautanki)… I fought against corruption in Delhi, I never said ‘Delhiites, I need your support’… People can see that you are not fighting against corruption, you are fighting for your selfishness and lust for power.”Waving a copy of the New York Times, he said, “It was a proud moment for the entire country when the story (on Delhi government’s successes in the education sector) got published in the NYT. I feel that if you ask any person who is the union education minister, I don’t think anyone knows. Who is the education minister of Uttar Pradesh, I don’t think anyone knows… Recently, I saw a video on social media of a child being asked who is the central education minister. He said ‘Manish Sisodia’. He was then asked who is the education minister of Rajasthan and UP, he said ‘Manish Sisodia’. There is only one education minister in this country and that is Manish Sisodia.”Kejriwal said that exactly a week after this report, NYT carried another one titled ‘Modi’s India is where global democracy dies’. “It hurts when anything against India gets published in an international newspaper,” he said.On the case against Sisodia, he said: “They filed a fake case against him saying he has committed a scam in the excise policy. When we asked them, what is this scam you are talking about, one of them said he had committed a Rs 1.5 lakh crore scam. Delhi’s budget is not this much, how can he commit such a big scam? Then a senior BJP spokesperson alleged Rs 8,000 crore.”Referring to a press conference by BJP leaders Manoj Tiwari and Anurag Thakur, Kejriwal said, “Two BJP leaders held a press conference and alleged that Sisodia committed a Rs 1,100 crore scam, then LG sent a report alleging Rs 144 crore, and then CBI in its FIR says Rs 1 crore, and that too was transferred from one company’s account to the account of another company. How is Sisodia involved in this? If you make (BJP MLAs) sit in different rooms and ask them what this scam is, they won’t be able to tell.”“The truth is, there is no scam, it was a transparent policy. They filed a fake case against him and searched his house for 14 hours, they raided every corner – from the kitchen to the bedroom to the toilet… They knocked on the walls, tore down the mattresses and pillows like it happens in movies, but they found nothing,” he said.Kejriwal also reiterated allegations that BJP leaders tried to get Sisodia and other MLAs to leave the AAP and join their party. “This is happening because of the Gujarat assembly elections, because BJP’s fortress in the state is crumbling… If today the AAP announces it will not contest the elections there, all these enquiries, CBI and ED raids will stop.”Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inboxHe further alleged: “In Maharashtra, they offered Rs 50 crore and here the offer is Rs 20 crore. I don’t know why they have offered less in Delhi. They spent Rs 6,300 crore to buy 277 MLAs and have reserved Rs 800 crore to buy our MLAs.”He also proposed a “confidence motion” to show Delhiites that AAP leaders will die but not break. “We want to prove to people that ‘Operation Lotus’ has now become ‘Operation Keechad’ in Delhi,” he said. To pass this motion, the Assembly will convene on Monday.

Maharashtra, Goa… BJP topples govts, now after us: Kejriwal
Out of Assembly, BJP takes to streets
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

From the Delhi Assembly to the streets, BJP leaders in the national capital held protests demanding Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s resignation from the Cabinet while the Delhi government conducted a one-day special session of the Assembly.The assembly session itself began with slogans being exchanged between BJP and AAP MLAs, with the latter entering the Vidhan Sabha with slogans of “20 khokha 20 khokha” alluding to allegations by AAP of BJP offering Rs 20 crore to its MLAs to switch sides. The eight BJP MLAs hit back with slogans of “dhoka dhoka”.The session was adjourned for 10 minutes amidst this exchange of slogans.By 11.40 am, the BJP MLAs had been expelled from the assembly for the whole day after party leader Ajay Mahawar was found to be live recording the session on his phone. While the session continued inside the assembly, the BJP MLAs protested outside with placards demanding Sisodia’s removal from the Cabinet, which stated: “Dismiss the corrupt ministers Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain.”“We wanted to discuss the excise policy and the scam done by deputy CM Manish Sisodia… Where did they get money for election campaigning in Punjab, Goa, Gujarat. Instead of answering our questions, they removed us from the assembly for the whole day… They want to suppress the voice of the opposition… Sisodia has committed a scam worth Rs 1,000 crore in Delhi Excise Policy. Arrest Sisodia and dismiss him from the cabinet… Otherwise we will protest here at the Gandhi Statue,” alleged BJP MLA from Badarpur Ramvir Singh Bidhuri.Later, in the afternoon, BJP leaders including party’s Delhi chief Adesh Gupta, MPs Parvesh Sahib Singh and Ramesh Bidhuri and former Union Minister Vijay Goel led workers in a protest near Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence, which escalated into police deploying water cannons to disperse them. A senior police officer stated that the water cannons were used as the crowd was not dispersing.“We have many questions on their excise policy but they did not respond to any of them in the Assembly. They are running away from questions, they are running away from giving any answers on corruption. They called an Assembly session but it was just a ‘propaganda session’ for them,” said Gupta.Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inboxNortheast Delhi BJP MP Manoj Tiwari also criticised the AAP over their MLAs’ visit to Rajghat on Thursday, referring to them as “descendants of Goebbels”.“Through his life, Mahatma Gandhi ji considered several things as evil. Among these were also alcohol and intoxicants. But those who have done a scam of thousands of crores on alcohol, those trying to make Delhi sharaab nagri, those trying to push Delhi’s children into alcoholism today go to Gandhi ji’s memorial in Rajghat and sit. Delhi remembers well that Arvind Kejriwal, you once stood on Anna’s (Hazare) shoulders for support and fooled Delhi. Now Delhi can never accept you standing on Gandhi ji’s shoulders for support. And today Delhi is asking that those who have created a record by lying continuously, those who have even crossed the seema of dishonesty, descendants of Goebbels – are they even worthy of going to Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial site?” he said.

Out of Assembly, BJP takes to streets
Delhi: At special assembly session, Kejriwal takes aim at PM Modi
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Friday said the case against Manish Sisodia is not meant to fight corruption but rather to satisfy one person’s “lust for power”.Speaking at a one-day special session of the Delhi Assembly, Kejriwal said: “The case filed against Manish Sisodia is completely fake… They (BJP) are saying it’s a fight against corruption, but it is not… ye kisi ek insan ki satta ki hawas ki ladayi hai (This is a fight for one man’s lust for power).”Reiterating what he tweeted a day earlier, Kejriwal said there is a new serial killer on the loose – a potshot at the BJP taking down elected state governments. “Others form governments, they bring them down. They have trampled on citizens. People selected a government in Maharashtra and Goa, they toppled it… they are after the people… the pattern is the same everywhere… First they sent the CBI and ED after Jain, now they are targeting Sisodia,” he said.Waving a copy of the New York Times, he said, “It was a proud moment for the entire country when the story (on Delhi government’s successes in the education sector) got published in the NYT. I feel that if you ask any person who is the union education minister, I don’t think anyone knows. Who is the education minister of Uttar Pradesh, I don’t think anyone knows… Recently, I saw a video on social media of a kid being asked who is the central education minister. He said ‘Manish Sisodia’. He was then asked who is education minister of Rajasthan and UP, he said ‘Manish Sisodia’. There is only one education minister in this country and that is Manish Sisodia. Even if you ask an American, he will take Sisodia’s name.”He said that exactly a week after this report, NYT carried another one titled ‘Modi’s India is where democracy dies’. “Democracy is being killed in Modi’s India. It hurts when anything against India gets published in an international newspaper.”Kejriwal also spoke about a “conspiracy” by “anti-national forces” to stop him from going to Singapore to speak about the ‘Delhi model’.On the case against Sisodia, he said: “They filed a fake case against him saying he has committed a scam in the excise policy. When we asked them, what is this scam you are talking about, one of them said he had committed a Rs 1.5 lakh crore scam. Delhi’s budget is not this much, how can he commit such a big scam? Then a senior BJP spokesperson alleged Rs 8,000 crore.”Referring to a press conference by BJP leaders Manoj Tiwari and Anurag Thakur, Kejriwal said, “Two BJP leaders held a press conference and alleged that Sisodia committed a Rs 1,100 crore scam, then LG sent a report alleging Rs 144 crore, and then CBI in its FIR says Rs 1 crore, and that too was transferred from one company’s account to the account of another company. How is Sisodia involved in this? If you make (BJP MLAs) sit in different rooms and ask them what this scam is, they won’t be able to tell.”“Truth is, there is no scam, it was a transparent policy. They filed a fake case against him and searched his house for 14 hours, they raided every corner – from the kitchen to the bedroom to the toilet… They knocked on the walls, tore down the mattresses and pillows like it happens in movies, but they found nothing,” he said.He also reiterated allegations that the BJP tried to get Sisodia and other MLAs to ditch the AAP and join their party. “This is happening because of the Gujarat assembly elections, because BJP’s fortress in the state is crumbling… If today the AAP announces it will not contest the elections there, all these enquiries, CBI and ED raids will stop.”

Delhi: At special assembly session, Kejriwal takes aim at PM Modi
Your Daily Wrap: Ghulam Nabi Azad quits Congress; Kejriwal attacks BJP on CBI raids; and more
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

Veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad resigned from the party and launched a blistering no-holds-barred attack on Rahul Gandhi. Singling out Rahul, whom he called a “non-serious individual”, Azad said he had “demolished” the “entire consultative mechanism” in the party. Azad was a member of the Congress Working Committee and a member of the Sonia Gandhi-headed political affairs group. The Congress questioned the timing of the veteran leader’s resignation and said “it is most unfortunate, and most regrettable” that he quit at a time the party “fighting the BJP on public issues of price rise, unemployment and polarisation.”In his five-page letter, Azad also said that under Rahul, a new “coterie of inexperienced sycophants” started running the party, and citing “one of the most glaring examples of this immaturity”, referred to an incident from 2013 when the then party vice-president tore into an ordinance brought in by his party-led UPA government. Read the full text of Azad’s letter to Sonia Gandhi here.On his final day as Chief Justice of India before retirement, N V Ramana today delivered key judgments — the PIL seeking a ban on ‘election freebies’, the 2007 Yogi Adityanath hate speech case, and the Karnataka mining case. For the first time, the proceedings of the ceremonial bench in Ramana’s court were live streamed. The outgoing CJI rued that he “could not pay requisite attention to” the vexed issue of the listing of cases.Rekha Sharma, former judge of the Delhi High Court, and Alok Prasanna Kumar, Senior Resident Fellow, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, Bengaluru, write on CJI Ramana’s legacy. Read here:CJI Ramana’s tenure had some highs, and many belied hopesAssessing CJI NV Ramana’s legacy through three key numbers: 0, 163 and 71,411Continuing its attack on the BJP over the CBI raids at Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s residence last week, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today said, “There’s a new serial killer in town. The people select the government, they (BJP) topple them.” Sisodia too echoed Kejriwal’s comments. At the one-day special session of the Delhi Assembly called by the AAP, Sisodia called the CBI FIR filed against him “fake and fabricated”.Goa Police today arrested Sudhir Sangvan and Sukhwinder Singh for alleged involvement in murder of Haryana BJP leader and actor Sonali Phogat, and said the accused “intentionally gave the victim an obnoxious chemical substance in a liquid” hours before she died on the morning of August 23. While Sangvan was Phogat’s personal assistant, Singh was his aide.Political PulseIn the power circles, Ahmed Patel was equally well known as the man who had the ear of Congress president Sonia Gandhi through good times and bad, as the keeper of many party secrets, and as the Congress’s most influential Gujarat leader. It’s nearly two years since Patel died from complications arising out of Covid. Months to go for the Gujarat Assembly polls, the Congress seems to be playing catch-up to even newbie AAP. The Patels have mostly kept out of view, till recently, when in the wake of the remission of sentence of 11 convicts for the gangrape of Bilkis Bano and murder of 14 members of her family, Patel’s daughter Mumtaz Patel expressed her disapproval. In an interview to The Indian Express, Mumtaz talks about life after her father, getting used to not having a home in Delhi, the state of the Congress, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s help at the time of Patel’s illness. Excerpts here.Express ExplainedSony this week hiked the retail price of its PlayStation 5 console in several markets, a move many believe signals how inflation coupled with the current economic downturn is making tech products more expensive. Tech products rarely go up in price after they are released, so this rare price increase for a game console that is already in tight supply, hints at how there could be significant increase in prices of gadgets like the iPhone 14 series due to launch September 7. So why are big tech companies increasing the prices of their products ahead of the busy holiday shopping season? We explain.Nepal has postponed the recruitment rallies which were to be held in that country to recruit Gorkha soldiers for the Indian Army under the Agnipath scheme. We explain the reservations that the Nepalese government has about the new scheme of recruitment, and the current socio-economic impact of the historic military ties between the two countries. 

Your Daily Wrap: Ghulam Nabi Azad quits Congress; Kejriwal attacks BJP on CBI raids; and more
BJP acting like a serial killer to topple state governments, says Manish Sisodia
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

Calling the CBI FIR filed against him completely “fake and fabricated”, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Friday that the “BJP is acting like a serial killer to topple state governments”.Sisodia made the remarks at the one-day special session of the Delhi Assembly called by the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Friday amid a political slugfest between the AAP and BJP, with the former accusing the latter of trying to lure its MLAs to switch sides and the latter questioning the Arvind Kejriwal government’s excise policy.Echoing Sisodia’s remarks, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also hit out at the BJP, saying “There’s a new serial killer in town. The people select the government, they (BJP) topple them.” Kejriwal also alleged that the minute the government fell, the threat of CBI and ED too vanished. “Same pattern they are following in Delhi, first they sent the CBI and ED and are threatening the leaders to topple the government here in Delhi. The rate for Delhi MLAs is Rs 20 crore and in Maharashtra, they announced Rs 50 crore. I don’t know why they have offered less in Delhi…They spent Rs 5,500 cr to buy 277 MLAs, now they have reserved Rs 800cr to buy Delhi MLAs,” he alleged.Earlier, comparing Kejriwal and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the deputy CM said, “I have never seen such a Prime Minister who is this insecure. There is Arvind Kejriwal, the one chief minister who appreciates the works and schemes introduced by the central government and learns from the good works done by other governments. While there is (the) Prime Minister, who is not letting others work, sends CBI and ED after leaders to destroy the state governments.”“I have not done a penny of corruption. Only thing I have done is the development of schools and the education system in Delhi. But they could not digest this and are sending CBI and ED after me. Had Arvind Kejriwal been PM and I had been in the opposite doing such good works, unlike Modiji, he would have hugged me and appreciated my work, he would have shown interest to learn and implement it in other states. He would have not sent CBI, ED after me. This is the difference between Kejriwal and Modi,” Sisodia added.Sisodia also referred to the Prime Minister as a person with “small thinking” and said he is trying to “destroy the Delhi government as it is being praised all over the world”.Sisodia, who also holds the education portfolio, said, “Delhi government has constructed 700 new school buildings, hired 19,609 teachers and improved the existing schools. These government schools earlier used to be known as ‘Chidiyaghar school, jhuggi wale, khadde waale schools’, now these schools have been developed and are being called as ‘IIT wala school, robot wala school.”Referring to the CBI raids and FIR filed against him, Sisodia said, “The Bharatiya Khoka Party is not here, it would have been good if they were here…on August 19, my family and I got ready to visit the temple. It was Krishna Jayanti and I received a message with a picture of a story published in the New York Times. I was just feeling happy and within five minutes I received a call saying CBI is here to search your house and an FIR has been filed against you in the Delhi Excise Policy.”The special session began with a ruckus with AAP leaders shouting “20 khoka (slang for crores, referring to the Rs 20 crore BJP allegedly offered to AAP MLAs to switch sides)” slogans against the BJP and the BJP replying with “Dhokha dhokha (cheat)”.“I read the FIR and it was completely fake and fabricated. I have been a journalist but never saw such an FIR filed completely on the basis of just ‘sources’…Source said this and sources that..On the morning of Janmashtami, the CBI came to my house and searched my house for 14 long hours, they searched every corner of my house, bedroom, kitchen, almirah, even my children’s clothes but they found nothing. I haven’t done corruption amounting to even a penny…anyways I am not here for telling my story of CBI raid, I just want to say that I am not afraid of these FIRs and raids…conduct 1,000 more raids you will not find anything…I am here to work for the development of education and schools in Delhi,” said Sisodia.Sisodia also defended the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22, in which an FIR has been registered against him, saying that BJP and its leaders are alleging corruption in a policy that was beneficial for people.“Understood that the CBI headquarters is now BJP headquarters but at least research what corruption is…One leader is saying Rs 8,000 crore corruption, other saying Rs 10,000 crore corruption….CBI FIR says Rs 1 crore transferred from one bank account to other account is corruption. I say all are baseless allegations and completely fake,” said Sisodia.Alleging that he received a call from BJP to join them, the deputy CM said, “I received a call from a BJP leader saying join BJP, all the cases filed against you will be closed. They said, if you will not join the party, ED will also register a case against you…I said okay, let them file any case they want, I will get out like earlier because all are fake…they said Manish Bhai, these cases will go for long, if you will join BJP, you will be made CM, bring others also…I want to tell you I am not here to become CM, I am here to change the education system of Delhi.”Sisodia said that he has been chosen by the people of Delhi and only they can buy him and his party leaders and they have done it already. “No one can buy us, you have bought us already and we will continue to work for you, no matter what happens,” he said.Meanwhile, eight BJP MLAs were marshalled out for the whole day over taking a mobile phone inside the house and recording the session illegally. The video was recorded by BJP MLA Ajay Mahawar.Alleging that AAP has made the Assembly a “political arena”, the BJP leaders held a protest outside the Assembly session demanding Sisodia’s arrest.“We wanted to discuss the excise policy and the scam done by deputy CM Manish Sisodia…Where did they get money for election campaigning in Punjab, Goa, Gujarat? Instead of answering our questions, they removed us from the Assembly for the whole day…Sisodia has committed a big scam worth Rs 1,000 crore and caused huge loss to the government exchequer. We demand to arrest Sisodia and dismiss him from the Cabinet,” leader of Opposition Ram Vir Singh Bidhuri said.

BJP acting like a serial killer to topple state governments, says Manish Sisodia