Arvind Kejriwal Skips ED Summons: How AAP is 'Preparing for the Worst'

The sense within AAP is that the Modi government wants to 'arrest Kejriwal' and 'finish AAP'.

3 min read
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The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is a party under siege. On Thursday, Delhi minister Raaj Kumar Anand was raided by the Enforcement Directorate, ahead of CM Arvind Kejriwal's scheduled questioning by the agency in connection with the alleged liquor scam.

Kejriwal decided to skip the ED summons and instead went to Madhya Pradesh to campaign for the party in the Assembly elections.

Earlier this week the Supreme Court rejected former Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia's bail plea, making matters worse for the party.

Sources in the party say that its leadership is preparing for "any eventuality" including the possible arrest of party chief Arvind Kejriwal.

"It (Kejriwal's arrest) is what the (central) government wants. They will surely do it under some pretext or the other. We are all mentally prepared for it," an AAP national executive member told The Quint.

The party says that there is a plan in place in case something like this happens.

  • What is the mood within AAP?

  • What's the AAP's plan in case of Kejriwal's arrest?

  • What will happen within the INDIA coalition?

This piece will try and answer these three questions.


What is the Mood Within AAP?

"They want to politically finish Arvind Kejriwal and destroy AAP," AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sandeep Pathak said.

The sentiment in the party is that the BJP has gone after AAP with a greater intensity than it has targeted any other rival.

"We are paying the price because we refused to split. None of our leaders left despite being bribed or pressured," an AAP Delhi MLA alleged, while speaking to The Quint on Wednesday evening.

A key development in the run-up to Kejriwal's questioning were the raids on AAP MLA from Mohali in Punjab, Kulwant Singh.

Kulwant Singh is one of the richest legislators of AAP in the country. The raids on him are being seen as an attempt to target any possible sources of funding for AAP.

It has also sparked tensions within AAP's Punjab unit, which so far had remained a bit immune from the heat of the central agencies' probe into the alleged liquor scam.


What's AAP's plan if Kejriwal is Arrested?

There are two aspects to this.

  • Who fills the leadership vacuum, since Kejriwal is both the CM of Delhi and AAP's national convenor?

  • What will be AAP's response to such a development?

In terms of who will fill the vacuum, AAP leaders' standard refrain has been "No question of a change in leadership".

But in a worst case scenario, AAP is likely to have different succession plans in party and government.

While in the Delhi government, the mantle could go to one among senior ministers such as Kailash Gahlot and Gopal Rai, the party is likely to follow a collective leadership model with the political affairs committee and national executive taking key decisions.

The more important aspect, is actually what AAP plans to do in such an eventuality.

"We will have to go back to where we started. AAP was born out of an Andolan and we will have to become that party once again," an AAP functionary told The Quint.

In case Kejriwal is arrested, AAP could hit the streets.

Of course, this is easier said than done because part of AAP's core leadership that had played a key role in the India Against Corruption agitation, are under arrest - Manish Sisodia, Satyender Jain and Sanjay Singh.


What Happens to AAP's Position Within the INDIA Coalition?

AAP is a key part of the Opposition INDIA coalition. But not all coalition partners have been as forthcoming in support.

According to sources within AAP, parties like SP, NCP, Shiv Sena (UBT), JD-U and SP-backed MP Kapil Sibal have been supportive, the Congress has so far remained silent.

However, individual leaders like Abhishek Manu Singhvi have come out in support of Kejriwal.

It is true that a section of the Congress, especially the Delhi and Punjab units and maybe even a part of the national leadership, may like to see AAP weaken.

But one must remember that party chief Mallikarjun Kharge did overrule the Delhi and Punjab units on the NCT legislation and backed AAP to the hilt in Parliament.

The Congress' stand isn't just dependent on its equation with AAP. It will have to strike a balance because any clear stand against AAP could create distrust among other INDIA partners too.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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