A day after Aam Aadmi Party MLA Madan Lal alleged that the BJP was trying to topple the AAP government in Delhi, hundreds of supporters of the two parties came face-to-face in protests outside Arun Jaitley’s house in Kailash Colony on Tuesday.
Amidst heavy deployment of security near Jaitley’s house, AAP protesters, wearing party caps and holding the national flag and banners of ‘Arun Jaitley murdabad’, started demonstrations outside his house around 10 am.
BJP workers, who had prior intimation of the AAP’s plans to protest, also assembled at the spot to begin a counter-protest.
Meanwhile, in a bid to stop the protest from turning violent, police set up barricades between the two groups.
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A police officer said on Monday night itself they had been informed about the AAP protest.
“Three companies of CRPF personnel had been called in. Around 8.30 am, we put up barricades in the area, restricting entry in the lane. Nearly 150 protesters were put under preventive detention. We had asked them to move the protest from the locality since it was leading to traffic problems,” a police officer said.
Alleging that the BJP was trying to malign the AAP government, AAP spokesperson Deepak Bajpai said, “BJP is conspiring to topple the most popular state government in the country. This protest was against BJP’s hidden tactics and conspiracy.”
On Monday, AAP MLA from Kasturba Nagar, Madan Lal, had alleged that several “BJP members” had tried to pursuade him to defect from the AAP. He alleged that on one such occasion, he had been offered Rs 20 crore to defect.
On the other hand, BJP leaders at the protest claimed that AAP was just trying to grab headlines with the protests. BJP vice-president Smriti Irani, said, “The manner in which the AAP has taken to the streets today shows that they want to be in the limelight. They have no intention of engaging in politics of development.”
Minutes after the protest ended, Arun Jaitley criticised the AAP, calling it a “a party of pathological liars”. “The AAP admittedly does not know how to govern and it is not capable of governing. It does not know statecraft.”
“It is a party of pathological liars. An AAP MLA whom neither Narendra Modi or I have heard of before says he received a call from some unknown number. This person tells him that he will introduce him to me. According to the MLA, he received the call on December 7, a time when it was not even clear if the AAP would form the government… In accordance to their own policy, why didn’t they conduct a sting to find out who these people were. Because they (AAP) cannot deliver, they manufacture falsehood and pursue it as if it was the truth,” Jaitley said.
Condemning the protest, the Delhi BJP accused the AAP government for indulging in politics of blackmail to divert attention away from its non-performance.
The party also demanded the resignation of AAP ministers Manish Sisodia and Somnath Bharti.
A senior BJP leader present outside Jaitley’s house said, “This is unacceptable. Despite the fact that stories about unethical practices by Sisodia and Bharti have been published in papers, we have not staged any protest outside their residences. But now, we will.”
Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel alleged that the AAP had taken the minimum time to become corrupt after coming to power. “AAP has completed 30 days in power and no party in such a short time has seen so many corruption allegations,” he said.
Goel also alleged that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was protecting Bharti and Sisodia. He said that Bharati was an internationally notorious spammer. “He has been reprimanded by courts, and named in FIRs by African women. Sisodia allegedly misused foreign funds granted to his NGO Kabir for personal use. Kejriwal should answer on these issues,” Goel said.