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As AAP protests against arrest of Manish Sisodia in Delhi liquor scam, here are the times when Kejriwal himself wanted strong action against the corrupt

Arvind Kejriwal, who mouthed platitudes over the years about making India corruption free, decided to retract his own rules when it came to Manish Sisodia.

On Sunday (February 26), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia in connection with the liquor policy scam case. Sisodia was grilled by the central agency for several hours prior to his arrest.

Even before Sisodia appeared before the CBI, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers created a ruckus outside the office of the central agency. Some of them were detained for creating chaos in the garb of ‘protests’.

Other heavyweight leaders in the party wrote ‘premature obituaries’, cast aspersions on the integrity of the CBI, and tried to deviate public discourse from the matter at hand to Sisodia’s credentials as Education Minister.

Manish Sisodia reportedly waived off ₹144.36 crores on the license fee, to be paid by the private liquor vendors, under the garb of the Coronavirus pandemic. He also allegedly caused a loss to the Excise Department and benefitted liquor licensees by waiving the import pass fee of ₹50 per beer case.

This, however, did not stop Arvind Kejriwal from crying foul over the interrogation and subsequent arrest of fellow party leader and his deputy, Manish Sisodia. It must be mentioned that not long ago, the AAP supremo was out with all guns blazing against corruption and had tried to promote himself as an anti-corruption crusader.

In October 2012, Arvind Kejriwal called upon the people of India to overthrow the ‘corrupt regime’ of the Congress-led UPA government.

Two years later, in February 2014, Kejriwal even announced that he is willing to sacrifice his Chief Ministership 100 times to remove corruption from the country.

A year later, he was seen boasting about dismissing his own Minister for the latter’s involvement in corrupt activities. “I am the only CM who dismissed, on my own, a minister n a senior officer on charges of corruption and handed their cases to CBI,” Arvind Kejriwal had tweeted.

From time to time, the Delhi CM has reiterated his stance of ‘zero tolerance’ against corruption.

In May 2016, he said that he is ready to relinquish his job as Delhi CM and join CBI instead, provided it became an independent entity. “Will send corrupt to jail n get India rid of corruption,” he had stated.

Arvind Kejriwal, who came to power by posing as an anti-corruption crusader, had stated in 2018 that he would take exemplary action against those guilty of corruption. “No one will be spared,” he had emphasized.

Kejriwal attributed Delhi’s development to a lack of corruption

In February 2022, Arvind Kejriwal claimed that the infrastructure development in the National Capital under the AAP government was due to a lack of corruption.

While blaming the Sheila Dixit government, he had said, “From officer level to employees, and from sentries to ministers, everyone was involved in corruption. As a result, even low-cost projects became prohibitively expensive.”

“The government has thus saved crores of rupees in many projects, and with this money, basic amenities such as free electricity, water, education, and healthcare are being provided to the people of Delhi,” Kejriwal went on to browbeat.

Ahead of the Punjab elections, he even claimed that corruption had been eradicated altogether from Delhi. Arvind Kejriwal said, “It’s been 75 years since we have gained independence but we still have to pay bribes. All parties have indulged in corruption. Aam Aadmi Party is the first party to run an honest government.”

“Kejriwal and his ministers, Mann, and his ministers are not corrupt. We don’t want ‘hafta’ (protection money). Just like we eradicated corruption in Delhi, we will end it in Punjab as well,” he gloated.

Delhi CM on the arrest of Dr Vijay Singla

In May last year, the AAP-led-Punjab government sacked its Health Minister, Dr Vijay Singla, following ‘concrete proofs’ of corruption. It had come to light that Dr Singla was taking a 1% commission in all tenders floated by the health & family welfare department.

After the AAP leader was removed as Minister and arrested, Arvind Kejriwal hailed Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann for taking action against one of their own. “Corruption is betrayal to the country. We will handle everything but not betrayal to India,” he had said.

Arvind Kejriwal to MCD councilors on corruption

Following the victory of the Aam Aadmi Party at the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) polls, Arvind Kejriwal told the newly elected councillors that they should refrain from corrupt practices at all costs.

“Don’t get greedy otherwise this 5-year term will be your last opportunity in public life. If you work honestly, people will stand with you. People are sick and tired of corruption in MCD,” he had said.

“This time, we have fought against the corruption by the BJP. It should not happen that BJP will fight an election against our corruption next time…We have to work together against corruption, garbage, and social ills,” Kejriwal stated in December 2022.

However, when it came to one of his close aides, the Delhi CM deserted his anti-corruption stance and resorted to blaming institutions, questioning the motives of the Centre instead of cooperation with the investigating authorities in unearthing the corruption.

Arvind Kejriwal, who mouthed platitudes over the years about making India corruption free, decided to retract his own rules when it came to Manish Sisodia.

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Dibakar Dutta
Dibakar Dutta
Centre-Right. Political analyst. Assistant Editor @Opindia. Reach me at [email protected]

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