The arrest of Aam Aadmi Party convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is poised to cast a shadow over the party’s campaign for the upcoming general elections, especially in Punjab, where the AAP claims to win all 13 Lok Sabha seats.

After the Delhi High Court on Tuesday rejected Kejriwal’s plea against his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in the liquor case, the party immediately moved the Supreme Court with hopes of the Chief Minister’s imminent release. The Supreme Court, earlier in the day, said that it would look into Kejriwal’s request for an early listing of his plea and asked his lawyers to send an email.

Meanwhile, AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, who was recently granted bail in the same case, denounced Kejriwal’s arrest as “the biggest political conspiracy”, expressing confidence that the AAP chief will get justice by the Supreme Court.

Despite Kejriwal’s absence, the AAP’s political strategists are actively engaged in bolstering its election campaign.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and Sanjay Singh convened a closed-door meeting at Kerjiwal’s residence, followed by a joint address to party functionaries, constituency in-charges, ministers, MLAs, and other leaders.

So, how will Arvind Kejriwal’s absence impact AAP’s Lok Sabha election campaign, especially in Punjab?

AAP’S STAR CAMPAIGNER MISSING IN PUNJAB

The absence of AAP’s star campaigner poses challenges, particularly in countering rivals such as the principal opposition Congress in the border state of Punjab where the party holds power.

However, senior leaders continue to instruct party workers on campaign strategies and emphasise key issues such as freebies, healthcare provisions, and concerns regarding sacrilege and farmer protests.

“The two senior leaders have explained to us how to campaign for the party and to ensure victory in all 13 seats,” AAP leader and Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Cheema said.

Interestingly, despite Kejriwal’s absence, AAP seems unfazed in Punjab.

“Every worker, every Punjabi is Arvind Kejriwal. We are deeply impressed by his thoughts. You can imprison Arvind Kejriwal, but his thoughts are everywhere in Punjab,” Speaker of Punjab Assembly Kultar Sandhwan told India Today TV.

KEJRIWAL’S ARREST AMMUNITION FOR OPPOSITION

Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest has given enough ammunition to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the BJP as the parties are leaving no stones unturned to corner AAP over the liquor policy scam case.

“If AAP leaders including Arvind Kejriwal, Sanjay Singh, and others are not guilty, then why are they hesitating to hand over their mobile phones?” said the chief spokesperson of Punjab BJP, Vineet Joshi.

POLITICAL IMPACT

At the receiving end in Haryana and Punjab, the BJP was facing backlash from farmers, who were still protesting on the Haryana and Punjab borders. Many BJP leaders faced protests in Punjab and Haryana during their rural election campaigning.

Despite the political implications of Kejriwal’s arrest, AAP and Congress stand to benefit more from farmer discontent, potentially dividing anti-BJP votes in the upcoming elections.

Published By:

Sahil Sinha

Published On:

Apr 11, 2024

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