Many AAP MPs keep mum on Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest, leaders baffled

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Many AAP MPs keep mum on Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest, leaders baffled
Chandigarh: The silence of five of the seven Punjab Rajya Sabha members of the Aam Aadmi Party during the present crisis faced by the party has baffled party leaders and legislators.

These members, all picked by the party top brass in 2022 from among business tycoons, sportspersons and social workers, have surprisingly not spoken against the arrest of their party chief Arvind Kejriwal. Only Sandeep Pathak, who is also the AAP national general secretary, and Raghav Chadha have spoken against the arrest.

Chadha is presently in London and is not able to attend any of the protests organised against the arrest of AAP supremo, either in Delhi or in Punjab. On the other hand, Sandeep Pathak has not only been actively participating in the protests, but also started holding volunteer meetings for the Lok Sabha poll.

Following Kejriwal’s arrest, all AAP leaders have changed their profile pictures on their social media handles, carrying pictures of an incarcerated Kejriwal, with the slogan “Modi ka sabse bada dar, Kejriwal”
Of the seven RS MPs from Punjab, Harbhajan Singh, Ashok Mittal, Sanjeev Arora, Balbir Singh Seechewal and Vikramjit Singh Sahney, have not changed their profile pictures, defying the party diktat

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Ashok Mittal’s posts from the day of Kejriwal’s arrest are regarding the IPU Geneva event he was attending
Balbir Singh Seechewal had reportedly clarified to the party before accepting its offer for the RS membership that he would not participate in party’s political events.
Vikramjit Sahney, a businessman and philanthropist, has said in one of the posts that he is “non-political and raises issues related to Sikhs, youth, Punjab and Punjabiyat, rising above political lines”.

Kejriwal was arrested by the Directorate of Enforcement in the Delhi Excise Policy ‘scam’ on March 21. Following his arrest, all AAP leaders have changed their profile pictures on their social media handles, carrying pictures of an incarcerated Kejriwal, with the slogan “Modi ka sabse bada dar, Kejriwal”. Of the seven RS members from Punjab, five of them, Harbhajan Singh, Ashok Kumar Mittal, Sanjeev Arora, Balbir Singh Seechewal and Vikramjit Singh Sahney, have not changed their profile pictures, defying the party diktat.

“None of the MPs has given any statement against the BJP or extended their support to the party’s national convener,” said a minister in the AAP government. A perusal of their social media accounts showed that though Harbhajan and Sanjeev have congratulated Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on the birth of his daughter, their other posts are regarding cricket (by Harbhajan) and general issues. Arora has congratulated AAP leader Sanjay Singh on his release and wished Kejriwal a speedy recovery, but not made any statement expressing resentment against the arrest of his party chief.

Mittal’s posts from the day of Kejriwal’s arrest are regarding the IPU Geneva event he was attending. Seechewal, an environmentalist, has posted about environmental issues he espouses, and one post about his meeting with CM Mann, during the latter’s visit to Jalandhar. A close aide of the MP said Seechewal had clarified to the party before accepting their offer for RS membership that he would not participate in party’s political events.

Sahney, a businessman and philanthropist, who was also trolled on the issue, has said in one of the posts that he is “non-political and raises issues related to Sikhs, youth, Punjab and Punjabiyat, rising above any political line”. While off-the-record, many in the party object to their nonchalant stand on the issue of Kejriwal’s arrest, on record, a party strategist, said these people were largely apolitical.

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