Aam Aadmi Party supremo Arvind Kejriwal got three bad news on Thursday. One, his close associate Sanjay Singh was sent to five-day custody of the Enforcement Directorate by a Delhi court, Two, the Aam Aadmi Party may be made an accused by ED in the Delhi liquor excise case, and Three, former Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, who has been in jail for last seven months, failed to get bail from Supreme Court. Despite Kejriwal’s claim that not a single rupee has been seized from the residences of any of his leaders, ED in its remand application before the court disclosed that accused businessman Dinesh Arora had given Rs two crore cash at the residence of Sanjay Singh in two tranches. Singh strongly rejected this allegation in court. ED’s remand application says, the cash was paid between August 2021 and April, 2022. ED has summoned two assistants of Sanjay Singh, Sarvesh Mishra and Vivek Tyagi in this connection. In the remand application, ED has said that Sanjay Singh received “proceeds of crime” to the tune of Rs 2 crore. It now appears that AAP wants to fight this corruption case on a political pitch, and in pursuance of this strategy, its workers staged protests on Thursday in Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai and Pune. On the other hand, constituent parties of the I.N.D.I.A opposition bloc has come forward to extend support to him. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, while addressing a rally in MP, alleged that ED is conducting raids and carrying out arrests only in non-BJP-ruled states. She alleged that ED never conducted raids in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, where several scams have taken place. On Friday, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar met Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Delhi to chalk out I.N.D.I.A opposition bloc’s next strategy. A day before, on Thursday, Pawar criticized Sanjay Singh’s arrest and accused the BJP of misusing agencies like CBI and ED to target the opposition. Pawar said, “I feel that when they can’t find anything against the opposition, they resort to misusing agencies like ED and CBI.” Pawar described Sanjay Singh as a “nice person” and condemned his arrest. He also mentioned how raids were carried out against Mamata Banerjee’s associates in West Bengal. He also mentioned how NCP leader and former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh was arrested and kept in jail for 13 months. He also mentioned how Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut was arrested and kept in jail for eight months. I find one of the observations made by Sharad Pawar interesting. He said opposition unity will now become stronger after raids by ED and CBI. “ED’s actions will act as Fevicol”, he said. I had said this in my show ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ on Wednesday night. Pawar understands that parties which are part of I.N.D.I.A alliance may be having differences at local levels, but a middle path has to be found out. He feels this is the need of the hour. Pawar has said, while Left and Congress are against Mamata Banerjee and her party, Congress and AAP are at loggerheads in Delhi and Punjab. These quarrels, he thinks, should be kept confined to those states only, and there must be coordinated efforts so that all major opposition parties can at least contest next year’s Lok Sabha elections unitedly by fielding common candidates to defeat BJP. Sharad Pawar is an experienced and clever politician. He chooses his words carefully. When he said that forces like ED and CBI are acting as Fevicol to keep the INDIA alliance intact, he is conveying the message that the more the cases are filed, the stronger will be the bloc. Kejriwal is so much worried about CBI, and ED cases against his party leaders that he may now be ready to leave three out of seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi for his rival party Congress. Overall, Congress, NCP, Aam Aadmi Party, Trinamool Congress, and RJD are parties, in which top leaders are facing corruption cases from CBI and ED. Some leaders are out on bail, while some others are in jail. Till now, leaders of these opposition parties have been admitting in private that they have joined hands on a common platform because of the cases that they are facing. Pawar has now publicly admitted this, and it is now for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pick it up. Modi has been saying consistently that the opposition bloc is actually an alliance of leaders neck-deep in corruption. Modi has been saying that it was his government which relentlessly carried out action against corruption, and this was the reason why opposition leaders have come together. Modi feels he can now go to the people with corruption as the main plank. This will help him to corral all the opposition parties on a single pitch. Modi’s speeches at his recent rallies are fairly indicative of this strategy.
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