Arvind Kejriwal’s Court Date Today As He Seeks Trust Vote In Assembly

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This is the second time when the Arvind Kejriwal government has sought a trust vote

New Delhi:

The Delhi Assembly will today take up the motion of confidence moved by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a show of strength amid allegations by his party that the BJP was trying to “poach” AAP MLAs.

Arvind Kejriwal, also the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Chief, is likely to appear before a Delhi court today and explain why he had skipped the five earlier summons issued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the liquor policy case.

Mr Kejriwal’s move also comes ahead of the ED’s sixth summons to appear before it on February 19.

Moving the vote of confidence motion in the Assembly yesterday, Mr Kejriwal said two AAP MLAs told him that they were approached by members of the BJP who claimed that the Delhi chief minister would be arrested soon.

“The MLAs were told that 21 AAP legislators have agreed to leave the party and more are in touch with the BJP. They offered the MLAs Rs 25 crore to join the BJP. The MLAs told me they did not accept. When we spoke to other MLAs, we found that they had not contacted 21, but seven. They were trying to carry out another Operation Lotus,” Mr Kejriwal said.

“I want to show that none of our MLAs defected, and all remain steadfastly aligned with us,” he said.

This is the second time when the Arvind Kejriwal government has sought a trust vote. The Aam Aadmi Party has 62 MLAs in the 70-member Assembly and the BJP has eight.

The court had last week summoned Mr Kejriwal to appear before it today, noting that the AAP chief was “legally bound” to comply.

In its complaint, the ED has alleged that the Delhi chief minister intentionally did not want to obey the summons and kept on giving “lame excuses”. If a high-ranking public functionary like him disobeyed the law, it would “set a wrong example for the common man i.e. the Aam Aadmi,” the agency said.

The AAP chief has skipped five summons so far and he and his party have repeatedly claimed that the summonses were illegal and the agency’s only aim is to arrest him.

Ever since the first summons was issued by the Enforcement Directorate, there has been intense speculation that the Delhi chief minister would be arrested by the agency after his questioning.

With three of its leaders — Manish Sisodia, Sanjay Singh and Satyendra Jain — behind the bars, AAP has long been anticipating the eventuality and has discussed the possible courses of action. They even want Mr Kejriwal to remain the Chief Minister and do his job from jail.

The CBI contends that liquor companies were involved in framing the excise policy, which would have brought them a 12 per cent profit. A liquor lobby it dubbed the “South Group” had paid kickbacks, part of which was routed to public servants. The Enforcement Directorate alleged laundering of the kickbacks.

The BJP has alleged that the proceeds of the alleged scam were used by the AAP to fund its large-scale campaign in Gujarat, in which it got a 12.91 per cent votes and established itself as a national party.

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