Arvind Kejriwal decided not to be on the backfoot but to be even more aggressive with his scheduled political programs.
There was anticipation that after a series of political setbacks, Aam Aadmi Party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal may stop his plans for a while to expand his party across the country.
However, Kejriwal decided not to go on the backfoot but to be even more aggressive with his scheduled political programs. Sources close to AAP said, “Perhaps the idea behind the arrest of Manish Sisodia and framing other leaders could be to stop expanding the AAP in other states after Goa, Punjab and recently in Gujarat, where the party won more than four million votes. Sooner or later, there will be justice in such political cases.”
The AAP camp believes that stopping its political program or playing on the back foot would encourage its opponents and discourage the party’s morale.
The party is in touch with top lawyers to fight the legal battle for its leaders, including Manish Sisodia and Satyendra Jain.
Arvind Kejriwal will continue to hold political programs. On March 4, he visited Karnataka and on March 5, he visited Chhattisgarh, where Kejriwal announced his party would contest the upcoming assembly elections due later this year.
Subsequently, he would travel to Rajasthan on March 13 and Madhya Pradesh on March 14. In the first week of April, Arvind Kejriwal will travel to Assam to address party workers and volunteers.
Significantly, all these states are mostly seeing a direct battle between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
After Manish Sisodia’s arrest, the party suffered a setback both politically and administratively. It was Sisodia who was virtually leading the government in Delhi with the party’s most-branded programmes in the health and education sectors.
Even after Satyendra Jain’s arrest and months’ long judicial custody, Manish Sisodia took over his portfolio and continued his work.
Arvind Kejriwal was engaged in political programs while Manish Sisodia was handling all the administrative affairs in the Delhi government, but now after his arrest, the party inducted Saurabh Bhardwaj and Atishi to the cabinet to ensure Delhi does not suffer.
Satyendra Jain and Manish Sisodia are likely to return to the cabinet after their release.
AAP leaders said that the opponents perhaps want to see Arvind Kejriwal being locked up and to contain the expansion of the party.
The party is now gearing up not only for the upcoming Assembly polls but also for the 2024 general elections, where it is likely to focus on the few states where it may have the strongest cadre.
The Assembly elections will be a litmus test for the party. AAP sources suggest that the party will put all its energy in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat, and Goa.
The party got its biggest support in recent times after Sisodia’s arrest when the opposition, without the Congress extended, supported the AAP and wrote a letter to the PM against Sisodia’s arrest. From Shiv Sena to NCP, RJD, BRS, DMK, CPM and chief ministers of non-BJP states openly came out in support of Kejriwal.
The Enforcement Directorate summoned Telangana Chief Minister KCR’s daughter Kavitha on March 11 in the Delhi excise policy case. When the CBI reached Rabri Devi’s home to question her, Arvind Kejriwal spoke on the issue for the first time and criticized the central agency’s action against Rabri Devi.