Kejriwal Returns to Tihar Jail After Interim Bail Ends

CM Kejriwal Back to Tihar
Preeti Bali / 5:42 am / June 3, 2024

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal returned to Tihar Jail on Sunday after his 21-day interim bail ended. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader was remanded to judicial custody until June 5. Kejriwal had received interim bail from the Supreme Court on May 10 to campaign for the Lok Sabha elections following his arrest in the now-defunct Delhi liquor policy scam case.


Day of Opposition Meeting and Court Decision

Kejriwal’s return to prison came a day after an opposition INDIA bloc meeting and a Delhi court reserved its decision on extending his interim bail by another week. Addressing party members, Kejriwal dismissed exit polls predicting a bleak outcome for the INDIA bloc, including AAP.


High-Level Party Meetings

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, senior Delhi ministers, AAP MPs, and other officials arrived at Kejriwal’s residence shortly after 2 pm. AAP’s Political Affairs Committee, chaired by the party’s national convener, also convened.


Final Activities Before Surrender

Before surrendering to Tihar Jail authorities, Kejriwal made three stops: he paid respects to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat and offered prayers at Hanuman Temple in Connaught Place alongside his wife, Sunita Kejriwal. The AAP office was decorated with national flags as Kejriwal arrived.


Criticism of Exit Polls

“All exit polls are false. One poll gave them 33 out of 25 seats in Rajasthan. Why show fake exit polls just days before counting?” Kejriwal questioned. He accused his opponents of psychological manipulation, asserting they would not form a government on June 4.


Call for Vigilance and Resistance

Kejriwal urged AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sandeep Pathak and other INDIA bloc leaders to ensure their counting agents remained patient and vigilant, even if their candidates were losing, and to verify 5% of slips. He compared his challenge to British colonialism to that of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh, asserting his willingness to endure imprisonment for the country’s sake.


Prayers and Final Meeting

“Mahatma Gandhi saved this country from tyranny. I have prayed at Rajghat and Hanuman Mandir. Bajrangbali’s blessings are with us,” Kejriwal stated. He held a brief meeting with party leaders before leaving for Tihar Jail, accompanied by his wife, children, and party members.


Legal Accusations and Campaign Efforts

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has accused Kejriwal and AAP of violating the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), labeling him the “kingpin” in the excise policy case. After his release on bail, Kejriwal campaigned in Delhi, Punjab, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra, using his arrest as a campaign tool under the slogan ‘Jail Ka Jawab Vote Se’.


Leadership Transition During Campaign

During his campaign, Kejriwal established his wife, Sunita Kejriwal, as his second-in-command, leading AAP’s campaign in Delhi. He also accepted the resignation of former minister Raaj Kumar Anand and welcomed the return of Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha, who took charge of AAP’s campaigns in Delhi and Punjab.


Controversy and Internal Turmoil

AAP faced internal strife when its only woman MP, Swati Maliwal, accused Kejriwal’s former personal assistant Bibhav Kumar of assault during Kejriwal’s interim bail. Kumar denied the allegations but was arrested on May 18 and placed in judicial custody after being denied bail.


Impact on Campaign

The controversy involving Maliwal overshadowed AAP’s campaign, drawing public attention and diverting focus. On May 19, Kejriwal and party leaders protested outside the AAP office, daring the BJP to “arrest us all.”


Awaiting Election Results

All eyes are on June 4, as the election results could confirm the exit polls’ grim predictions for AAP. Kejriwal had framed the election as a choice: voting for BJP to send him back to jail or voting for the INDIA bloc to keep him out.


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