Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday said he was not allowed to leave his house to support the farmers and the call for Bharat bandh while his party alleged he was placed under house arrest — a claim denied by the Delhi Police.
“I am very happy that the entire country is one in support of demands made by farmers. I had also planned to go to the border for 30-40 minutes and express support, not as a Chief Minister but as a normal man. I think they found out what my plans were. They did not let me go, but I prayed for the andolan’s success,” Kejriwal said after
his party members, including Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, entered his residence in the evening after sitting outside for over two hours.
AAP alleged even Kejriwal’s personal staff was not allowed to enter his home in the morning.
The party’s and CM’s allegations drew an almost instant reaction from Delhi Police. “It is claimed in certain sections on social media that there have been restrictions on the movement of the Chief Minister. I would like to clarify these claims are totally baseless. There are absolutely no restrictions. The CM is doing his normal engagements, there is normal movement. Further, he is going out of his residence for his engagements,” said Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order, North Zone) Satish Golcha.
DCP (North) Anto Alphonse said: “No one has been denied entry. We have only asked them not to allow so many people in at once as BJP councillors are also protesting right outside the gate and there could have been a law and order problem.”
Alphonse also tweeted a photograph of the entrance to Kejriwal’s residence: “This claim of CM Delhi being put on house arrest is incorrect. He exercises his right to free movement within the law of the land. A picture of the house entrance says it all.”
Mayors of the three civic bodies have been on a dharna outside the CM’s house on Flagstaff Road, Civil Lines, since Monday, demanding Rs 1,300 crore that they claim the government owes the corporations.
Earlier in the day, AAP national spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj alleged the CM had been placed under house arrest since he returned home after visiting farmers at Singhu Monday. Bharadwaj claimed Delhi Police was doing this on the instruction of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
“Right now, no one can meet the Delhi Chief Minister, neither can he come out of his residence,” he claimed.
Since morning, AAP supporters and members gathered outside the lane a few metres away from the CM’s residence, where Delhi Police had put up barricades, and shouted slogans against the police. In the afternoon, Sisodia, AAP MP Bhagwant Mann, several MLAs including Somnath Bharti and Rakhi Birla, and municipal councillors joined the protest.
Outside the CM house in the evening, Sisodia asked the police: “I am the Deputy CM and I am speaking to the CM. Who has given such orders? CM house is here since past six years, then why such orders today?”
Police said that everyone would be allowed to go — but in batches. They also claimed they were waiting for orders from the CM house to allow them entry.
Speaking to party workers after they were granted entry, Kejriwal said: “A few days ago, the Centre sent a proposal to convert nine stadiums into jails… It reminded me of Anna andolan… I knew the kisan andolan would be weakened if we allowed this. I was under pressure, received many calls, but decided that we stood with the farmers… the Centre is very angry.”
Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor, meanwhile, said the claims of CM being under house arrest since Monday afternoon were untrue and that he was not stepping out intentionally since Tuesday morning. “He attended a function at a hotel last night — this exposes his claim,” he claimed.
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