Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday suggested that former associate Anna Hazare was being “used” by political rivals to target him as he dismissed the social activist’s criticism of his policies and style of functioning. Earlier in the day, Hazare slammed Kejriwal saying that power induced intoxication had made him deviate from the ideology and ideals of the movement that led to the creation of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). He had also raised questions over the AAP’s liquor policy.
“They (BJP) have been saying there’s a scam in the liquor policy but CBI said there’s no scam. Public is not listening to them. Ab yeh Anna Hazare Ji ke kandhe pe rakh ke banduk chala rahe hain (Now they are using Anna Hazare as a pretext to attack me). This is common in politics,” said Kejriwal He lauded Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s persistence throughout the raids on him by the investigative agencies.
“When we come into public life,we should always be ready for any probe. CBI completed all its probe; investigated Manish Sisodia for 14 hours. He answered their questions satisfactorily. They couldn’t find anything in his locker. So, an informal clean chit is given to him,” he added. He further demanded a probe against the BJP and said, “Now that nothing came out of the CBI probe, there should be no politics in it. Now there should be an investigation on how they wanted to buy MLAs in Delhi for Rs 20-20 crores each. If we didn’t run from it, then why should they?”
Earlier in the day, social activist Anna Hazare wrote to Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal accusing him of being intoxicated with power and forgetting the ideology and values of the movement that created the AAP. According to him, Kejriwal after becoming Delhi CM had deviated from their ideology.
Anna Hazare wrote, “This is the first time I am writing to you after you became Chief Minister. The recent news about the Delhi government on the liquor scam is disheartening. I have been inspired by Gandhiji and his ideology. Based on this, I have dedicated my life to the people, society and the country. For the last 47 years, I have been working towards the upliftment of society and corruption.” Anna Hazare was the face of the massive anti-corruption that propelled Kejriwal to national spotlight.
“You had written the book titled ‘Swaraj’ where you wrote about ideals. There was a lot of hope from you then, but after going into politics and becoming the Chief Minister, you have forgotten the ideology. Just like alcohol intoxication, there is an intoxication of power also. It looks like you have drowned in the intoxication of power. (Aap Satta Ke Nashe Mein Doob Gaye Hain).” Hazare also hit out against Delhi’s new excise policy, which he said encouraged the sale and consumption of liquor. “Liquor shops were being opened in every corner of the city and it is very bad for the general public.”
Hazare cited protests he had led over liquor policies in Maharashtra. “Had expected a similar policy (like Maharashtra’s). But you didn’t do it. People seem to be trapped in a cycle of money for power and power for money. It doesn’t suit a party that emerged from a major movement,” Hazare wrote. The excise policy was passed in Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi Cabinet in the middle of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic in 2021.
The Delhi government’s version is that the policy was formulated to ensure the generation of optimum revenue, and eradicate the sale of spurious liquor or non-duty paid liquor in Delhi, besides improving user experience.The CBI had filed a case against alleged corruption in the 2021-22 excise policy. The excise policy was subsequently withdrawn by the AAP government. Earlier this month, CBI raids on Manish Sisodia’s official residence in connection with the alleged corruption in the implementation of Delhi’s Excise Policy.
It was alleged that irregularities were committed including modifications in the Excise Policy and undue favours were extended to the license holders including waiver or reduction in licence fee, an extension of L-1 license without approval etc. It was further alleged that illegal gains on the count of these acts were diverted to concerned public servants by private parties and made false entries in their books of accounts.
The raids have led to a political slugfest with BJP leaders including Union Minister Anurag Thakur hitting out at Kejriwal and Sisodia over alleged “liquor corruption”. AAP has termed the allegations as politically motivated. (ANI)
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