Where are Swati Maliwal, Raghav Chadha: The curious case of AAP’s ‘missing’ MPs amid Kejriwal’s arrest : The Tribune India

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Where are Swati Maliwal, Raghav Chadha: The curious case of AAP’s ‘missing’ MPs amid Kejriwal’s arrest

AAP has 10 MPs in the Rajya Sabha while its one and only Lok Sabha MP Sushil Kumar Rinku has already jumped ship to BJP

Where are Swati Maliwal, Raghav Chadha: The curious case of AAP’s ‘missing’ MPs amid Kejriwal’s arrest

Since Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest, AAP has held many protests in his support in Delhi and other parts of the country



Tribune Web Desk

Vibha Sharma

Chandigarh, April 12

AAP supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is in jail and the NCT government is alleging that the BJP is “trying to impose President’s rule in the Capital”.

As per Delhi minister Atishi, there was credible information that a “political conspiracy” was underway to “destabilise” the Kejriwal government.

“Arvind Kejriwal has been arrested in a fake case and that too without any proof because there is a conspiracy to topple the elected government of Delhi…when we see a few things from the past, it shows that there has been a well-thought conspiracy going on,” Atishi was quoted as saying.

While AAP leadership in Delhi is accusing the BJP of “running fake cases” against the party, some saffron supporters are wondering about the whereabouts of some of AAP’s Rajya Sabha MPs who appear to be missing in action or the ongoing agitations in support of Kejriwal.

The Delhi CM was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with an alleged liquor policy scam.

Since then, AAP has held many protests in his support in Delhi and other parts of the country.

AAP has 10 MPs in the Rajya Sabha

As on date, AAP has 10 members in the Rajya Sabha.

They include Sanjay Singh, Narain Dass Gupta and Swati Maliwal from the National Capital Territory of Delhi and Raghav Chadha, Sanjeev Arora, Ashok Kumar Mittal, Sandeep Kumar Pathak, Vikramjit Singh Sahney, Harbhajan Singh and Sant Balbir Singh from Punjab.

There was also a sitting Lok Sabha MP Sushil Kumar Rinku from Jalandhar, Punjab, who has already jumped ship to BJP.

The issue

Newspaper reports suggest that those currently active in AAP protests include just three of these 10 MPs. 

They are Sanjay Singh, who now also seems to be the key decision-maker in the party in the absence of Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia, Sandeep Kumar Pathak, who is said to be Kejriwal’s “close friend and someone he actually relies upon”, and Narain Dass Gupta, also the treasurer of AAP.     

Raghav Chadha, one of Kejriwal’s key aides, is said to be recuperating from a retinal detachment surgery in London as per reports

However, the buzz in political circles also is that he may be waiting and watching for the right time “either to return or to make his next move”.

Though as per AAP leaders, Chadha has been tweeting in support of Kejriwal and, as per party leaders, would be back in Delhi as soon as he gets clearance from his doctors, AAP's detractors claim he might be having a “Plan B in case things go wrong here”.

What is really baffling observers is the absence of Swati Maliwal, a vocal AAP leader, who, as per reports, is in the US to help her sister recuperating from an illness. Like Chadha she, too, has been posting messages of support but again detractors wonder why someone at the forefront of AAP’ affairs since her days as the chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women “could not be in India for one day when the party required her the most”.  

Meanwhile, former cricketer Harbhajan Singh, Ashok Kumar Mittal, the founder of the Lovely Professional University and Vikramjit Singh Sahney, have largely been silent. Though Sanjeev Arora met Kejriwal’s wife Sunita but he did not attend INDIA bloc protest at Ramlila Maidan, as per newspaper reports.

“All of them may not be as active, Balbir Singh Seechewal and Sahney are also non-political but everyone will be available for the party,” say AAP supporters. 

‘Under pressure from BJP’

However, conspiracy theories are abound after Delhi Minister Raaj Kumar Anand resigned from his post over what he called his “party’s downfall from an anti-corruption group to a party involved in corruption”,  AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj alleged that he was made to quit “under pressure” by the BJP.

Though Anand himself did not give any such indication, AAP leaders say his reasons were “obvious”.

 Will they, won’t they 

The law has strict provisions for individual MPs/MLAs for leaving one party for another.

However, it allows a group of MP/MLAs to join/merge with another political party without inviting the penalty for defection. It also does not penalise political parties for encouraging or accepting defecting MP/MLAs.

“As per the law, ‘defection’ by one-third of the elected members of a political party is considered a ‘merger’. These MPs know that they have been elected to the Rajya Sabha for six years and even if he wants, Kejriwal cannot remove them. Whether they are considering this possibility, only time will tell, maybe they do or maybe they don’t, but some of them seem to be doing ‘wait and watch’, maybe for Lok Sabha election results to make their next move,” say observers.

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#Arvind Kejriwal #BJP #Lok Sabha #Raghav Chadha #Rajya Sabha


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