‘We have to save country from dictatorship together’: Kejriwal after walking out of Tihar jail

Kejriwal added that he would visit the Hanuman temple at Connaught Place at 11 am on Saturday, and address a press conference at the AAP office at 1 pm.

ByPTI

Published May 11, 2024 | 10:12 AMUpdatedMay 11, 2024 | 10:12 AM

Arvind Kejriwal confident of INDIA bloc winning LS polls

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Friday, 10 May, thanked Lord Hanuman as he walked out of Tihar Jail on interim bail after 40 days in judicial custody, and sought people’s support in his fight to end “dictatorship” in the country.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor was granted interim bail till 1 June by the Supreme Court earlier in the day in a money laundering case linked to the alleged excise policy scam. He will have to surrender and go back to prison on 2 June.

AAP leaders said the interim bail granted to Kejriwal will be a “game changer” for both AAP and the INDIA bloc’s campaign as the Lok Sabha polls enter the crucial phases in the coming weeks.

Opposition leaders also welcomed Kejriwal’s interim bail, saying the “fight to save democracy” will now be with more intensity. Hinting at a rise in the stature of Kejriwal as a top INDIA grouping leader, senior AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj said he will go all over the country to campaign for the Lok Sabha polls.

Also Read: Supreme Court grants interim bail to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal till 1 June

Kejriwal walks out of jail

As the Delhi chief minister walked out of prison Friday evening, AAP workers and supporters raised slogans of “Jail Ke Tale Toot Gaye, Kejriwalji Chhoot Gaye”.

Standing through the sunroof of a car outside the prison, a grey T-shirt-clad Kejriwal addressed AAP workers and leaders gathered there to welcome him.

Beginning with slogans of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, “Vande Mataram” and “Inquilab Zindabad”, he said, “I am fighting against dictatorship with all my might but 140 crore people (of the country) will have to come together to fight against it.”

He added that he would visit the Hanuman temple at Connaught Place at 11 am on Saturday, 11 May, and address a press conference at the AAP office at 1 pm.

“I am feeling great to be with you. I had told you that I would come out soon… First of all, I want to pay obeisance to Lord Hanuman. I am among you because of the blessings of Lord Hanuman,” Kejriwal said, asking people to come in large numbers to the temple.

The AAP leader also thanked people for their love and blessings and asked them to come together to fight against dictatorship.

“I want to thank you all. Crores of people of the country sent their blessings to me. I want to thank the Supreme Court because of which I am here,” he added.

To participate in a roadshow

Kejriwal reached his residence in the Civil Lines area around 8.30 pm where he was welcomed with dhol beats and slogans by AAP workers as flower blowers showered him with petals.

The chief minister sought the blessings of his parents and hugged them. His mother garlanded him and applied ’tilak’ on his forehead.

Speaking to reporters outside his residence, Kejriwal announced that he would participate in a roadshow likely to be held on Saturday in South Delhi’s Mehrauli area.

“I want to express my heartfelt thanks to the Supreme Court because of which I have found an opportunity to campaign for the elections. Our country is 4,000 years old but it has never accepted anyone who has tried to impose a dictatorship,” he told them.

The country is passing through a phase of dictatorship, the Delhi chief minister alleged and said, “I am fighting against it with all my might… But 140 crore people need to come together to defeat it. I want to appeal to people that we have to save the country together.”

Kejriwal also thanked people with folded hands and waved at them as they raised slogans of ‘Dekho Dekho Kaun Aaya, Sher Aaya Sher Aaya’.

Bharadwaj said the AAP chief’s interim bail after 40 days is no less than a miracle. “His release will pave the way for big changes in the country,” the Delhi minister added.

Also Read: People like Prajwal are free but people like me are arrested: K Kavitha

Victory for truth and democracy

Senior AAP leader Atishi, who too is a minister in the Delhi government, described the top court’s decision as a victory for truth and democracy.

“I want to appeal to people that this is the last chance to save democracy through the power of vote and replace dictatorship in the country,” she said.

In a post in Hindi on ‘X’, the party’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said, “Truth can be troubled but not defeated. The decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court is welcome. Dictatorship will end. Satyamev Jayate.”

Opposition leaders of the INDIA bloc too welcomed Kejriwal’s release.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Friday welcomed the grant of interim bail to Kejriwal and said his release not only symbolises justice but also fortifies the opposition INDIA bloc.

Stalin, also the president of the ruling DMK said on X: “I welcome the Hon’ble #SupremeCourt’s decision granting interim bail to Hon’ble Delhi Chief Minister and @AamAadmiParty National Convenor Thiru @ArvindKejriwal. This victory against injustice strengthens our democracy. Thiru Arvind Kejriwal’s release not only symbolises justice but also fortifies our #INDIA bloc, bolstering our momentum towards sweeping the elections.”

‘Slap on Sangh Parivar’s revenge politics’

Similarly his counterpart, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan also said the order was a “resolute response to the BJP’s covert attempts to undermine democracy through abuse of power”, while Satheesan termed it as a setback and a “slap on the face” of the Sangh Parivar’s “revenge politics”.

Vijayan, in a statement issued by his office, said the verdict would leave a “lasting impact on the nation’s democratic fabric and shape the outcome of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections”.

He further said that the BJP’s move to imprison a chief minister for opposing the central government undermined democratic principles and pointed out that it was impossible for authoritarian regimes to perpetually stifle dissent.

In a post on social media platform X, the Kerala CM said the apex court order might impact the ongoing general elections, leading to a resounding victory of the democratic forces.

“It is a strong reminder that no authoritarian regime can prevail long by suppressing dissent.”

He also criticised the Narendra Modi government for its alleged reluctance to engage directly with the electorate.

Vijayan said the Supreme Court’s ruling exposed the fallacy of the BJP’s alleged belief that public sentiment could be manipulated through divisive tactics and suppression of opposition voices.

He said the top court decision not only invalidated the central government’s alleged questionable actions but also cautioned against the misuse of agencies like the ED for political ends.

Leader of Opposition in the state assembly VD Satheesan Satheesan in his statement alleged that the Sangh Parivar thinks that dictatorship can be established by overthrowing democracy.

“However, the judiciary is above any dictator. Court judgments and observations underline it. A setback for revenge politics is a victory for democracy,” he said.

Satheesan further said that the top court’s decision will give more confidence and energy to the INDIA bloc.

He also claimed that the people will deal a heavy blow to Modi and his team, who are allegedly spewing communal hatred.

AAP celebrates

Within hours of the interim bail granted to Kejriwal by the apex court, AAP was running its ‘Jail Ka Jawab Vote Se’ campaign, and its leaders started posting comments and videos on social media platforms using the hashtag #ModiCantStopKejriwal.

Clad in yellow T-shirts, AAP supporters celebrated the top court’s judgment by dancing to dhol beats and distributing sweets at the party office here.

AAP is fighting on its own in all 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab. In Delhi, it is contesting on four out of the seven seats as part of a seat-sharing pact with its INDIA bloc partner Congress.

(Disclaimer: The headline, subheads, and intro of this report along with the photos may have been reworked by South First. The rest of the content is from a syndicated feed, and has been edited for style.)