Arvind Kejriwal On “Poaching” Row

Arvind Kejriwal has taken a swipe at the BJP over the “poaching” row

New Delhi:

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took a swipe at the BJP today over “requests to join” the party, amid a row linked to allegations by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader that the BJP has been trying to poach their MLAs.

The Delhi Police’s Crime Branch has served notice to Mr Kejriwal and Delhi minister Atishi, asking them to give information on the allegations, given that the statements suggested they were “privy to certain information regarding commission of a cognisable offence”.

Mr Kejriwal, however, indicated his resistance to the BJP’s attack during a speech at the inauguration of a school building in Delhi’s Rohini.

“They can do whatever they want. Nothing will happen. I am not going to bow down to them. They say ‘come to BJP, we won’t trouble you’. No, not at all, I won’t join them. And what crime have we done that they need to pardon us?” Mr Kejriwal said.

“We have been working to improve schools, hospitals, clinics, roads… What’s wrong in that?” he added.

Crime Branch officials served notice to Mr Kejriwal on Saturday, asking him to reply within three days in a probe into his claims that the BJP tried to poach seven AAP MLAs. The notice to Atishi was served today.

Delhi BJP chief Virendra Sachdeva said Mr Kejriwal does not want to be investigated and so has been giving excuses to avoid his questioning. “Arvind Kejriwal is afraid of investigations by the probe agencies, that’s why he is lying. He wants to distract and trick the people of Delhi and that’s why he is dreaming about the things that will never happen,” Mr Sachdeva told news agency PTI.

On January 27, Mr Kejriwal and Atishi had claimed the BJP was trying to poach AAP MLAs by offering Rs 25 crore each and a ticket to contest next year’s assembly election.

The BJP refuted the allegations, calling them “false” and “baseless”, and dared the Chief Minister to give evidence to back his claims. The police have approached senior AAP leaders seeking assistance with the names of the MLAs who were approached by the BJP.

The Crime Branch has told Mr Kejriwal and Atishi to respond to the notice by February 5.

“An enquiry is being conducted by Crime Branch, Delhi Police, on a complaint received in respect of the allegations made by you that BJP has offered Rs 25 crore each to sitting MLAs of Aam Aadmi Party for leaving AAP and to join the BJP. These allegations were posted by you on X (formerly Twitter) on January 27,” the notice stated.

“The plain reading of the said tweet indicates that you are privy to certain information regarding commission of a cognisable offence. Therefore, you are hereby requested to provide answers to the questionnaire enclosed herewith by February 5,” the notice stated.

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