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Sunita Kejriwal “Best Person” to Keep AAP Together: Minister

Sunita Kejriwal “Best Person” to Keep AAP Together: Minister

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NEW DELHI, Apr 5: In what could be the first indication of the Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal’s wife Sunita Kejriwal may take over the mantle of the Delhi government if he was forced to resign from the chief minister’s post, the Delhi minister Saurabh Bhardwaj said on Friday that she was the “best person” to keep the party cadre together when Mr Kejriwal was away in jail.

In a media interaction, Mr Bhardwaj said Ms Sunita Kejriwal was the best person as her presence has had a positive impact in the absence of Arvind Kejriwal. The Delhi chief minister was arrested on March 21 in connection with the Delhi liquor policy case. Since then, his wife held four press conferences, which are called digital briefings as these were not so-called press conferences but Sunita released her video of reading Kejriwal’s messages from jail.

Sunita Kejriwal has been delivering Arvind Kejriwal’s message to the people which has had a great impact on the party cadre, Mr Bharadwaj said.

“She is delivering the messages of Arvind Kejriwal ji. This has had a great impact on our party cadre and among our sympathisers. We want to propagate it. In the present circumstances, she is the best person to keep the party together,” Bharadwaj said.

“For years Sunita Kejriwal has been with Arvind Kejriwal, through thick and thin…She was an IRS officer…If such a person stays in the party, then she acts as a glue in the party and we see it as a blessing… Since she is a family member, she is allowed to meet the chief minister in jail, she takes Delhi’s issues to Arvind Kejriwal and his issues to us,” Mr Bharadwaj said.

Ms Kejriwal’s emergence in the political landscape has invited comparison with Rabri Devi who became Bihar’s chief minister when Lalu Prasad Yadav was arrested in 1997 in a fodder scam. Kejriwal is the first sitting chief minister to be arrested and the party has maintained that Kejriwal will not resign as he is not yet convicted. While the BJP has been demanding his resignation, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri said Sunita Kejriwal was preparing to become like Rabri Devi.

The Delhi High Court has also three times rejected the demand for Mr Kejriwal’s removal as the chief minister and has also effused to give any direction to the Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena who can sack the chief minister.

Sunita Kejriwal held her first digital briefing on March 23, two days after Kejriwal’s arrest, and urged people to keep her husband in their prayers. On March 27, she addressed her second briefing in which she said Kejriwal would make an expose regarding the liquor probe in court. In her third media briefing on March 29, she launched “Kejriwal ko Aashirvaad” campaign. Two days later, she was a prominent presence at the INDIA bloc’s rally at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan sitting beside former Congress president Sonia Gandhi. “Your Kejriwal is a lion, they (BJP-led Centre) will not be able to keep him in custody for long. He remains in the hearts of crores of people across the country,” Sunita said at the rally.

Arvind Kejriwal was sent to judicial custody on April 1 for 15 days. On Thursday Sunita Kejriwal held her fourth briefing in which she conveyed chief minister’s message asking AAP MLAs to visit their constituencies daily and ensure that people do not face any problem. “The people of Delhi should not face any trouble because I am in jail. The two crore people of Delhi are my family, no one in my family should be sad for any reason. God bless everyone,” the chief minister said in his message.

Mr Bharadwaj, who is also a cabinet minister in the Delhi government, said Sunita Kejriwal has always said that she was the “messenger” of the Delhi Chief Minister who is currently in jail. Noting that the politics of a party does not just revolve around its manifesto, Mr Bharadwaj said the support base and the emotional connection between the cadre and the top leadership also plays a crucial role in keeping an organisation together.

Asked if Sunita Kejriwal would campaign for the party in the Lok Sabha polls, he said, “We would love if this thing happens… if Sunita ji does take part in campaigning but it is her personal decision.” On further prodding whether there was some kind of “messaging” in Sunita Kejriwal taking centre stage after her husband’s arrest, the minister replied in the negative.

“This is our culture. The BJP was saying that there would be fights among the party members after Kejriwal’s arrest. Sanjay Singh (AAP MP who was released on bail) considers Arvind Kejriwal his family, his elder brother. So, he touched her (Sunita Kejriwal) feet. We are working as one unit and one family,” he said.
(Manas Dasgupta)



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