Editorial: Kejriwal’s Jail Dilemma Continues

Editorial: Kejriwal’s Jail Dilemma Continues

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Wednesday, April 17, 2024, 03:13 PM IST
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Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal | File/PTI

For Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. There is nothing to suggest that he will soon be able to come out of jail and resume his duties as chief minister. His attempts to obtain bail have been in vain. Not even the Supreme Court is able to bail him out of the sticky situation. Those who thought that the bail Aam Aadmi Party’s Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh received was a precursor to the bail former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and Kejriwal would receive have been disappointed. On Monday, Sisodia’s lawyer expressed his anguish over his client’s predicament, but that did not seem to have any effect on the court.

However, one thing is notable. The courts have been turning down all petitions seeking Kejriwal’s removal from the chief ministership. In one case, the court even threatened to dismiss the petition with severe costs to the plaintiff. This is because the charges against Kejriwal, that he was the kingpin of the liquor policy scam, have not been proven. Under the existing laws, he can only be removed if he is punished. Punishment in this case will take months, if not years. An option that the chief minister wants to try is ruling from jail. However, the jail authorities are not prepared to grant him any leeway. He can only have visitors as permitted by the jail manual. The party’s strategy is to allow two ministers to meet him every week so that he can claim to have consulted his ministers while making decisions.

The idea that a state can be ruled by a prisoner is farcical, to say the least. As in Bihar and Jharkhand, where chief ministers resigned from their posts before going to jail, Kejriwal should have exercised that option. Perhaps he fears that the person who succeeds him may not be able to keep the government intact. In fact, one minister quit, demanding his resignation. There is an element of truth in his suspicion, but that is not a justification to hold on to the post while in jail. By doing so, Kejriwal and his party are inviting President’s rule, which becomes inevitable. If the party wants the imposition of President’s rule to win all seven seats in Delhi, not to mention Punjab, which also AAP rules, it is a different ball game altogether.

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