2024 polls will be Modi vs Kejriwal contest: Manish Sisodia
Manish Sisodia, Delhi's deputy CM, said on Saturday that the 2024 general election would be a contest between Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal, with the BJP's sole goal being to prevent Kejriwal from working. A day after the CBI raided Sisodia's home for 16 hours in relation to a purported liquor policy fraud, Sisodia said he may be arrested within a few days but isn't worried.
- The CBI raided Sisodia's house on Friday morning in regards to corruption allegations in the Delhi liquor policy.
- Allegations regarding the recently dropped liquor sale policy have triggered a dispute between the Delhi government and Lieutenant-Governor (LG) VK Saxena, who had asked for a CBI investigation.
- Implemented in November 2021, the policy privatized the sale of alcoholic beverages in the national capital.
"The BJP-ruled central government isn't worried about the excise fraud, it's worried about Arvind Kejriwal because they see him as the prime challenger to PM Modi in the upcoming general elections," Sisodia reported stated. "People used to ask Modi versus who. Now a nationwide atmosphere...favors...Kejriwal," he added while highlighting that the 2024 elections would primarily be an AAP vs BJP contest.
Sisodia emphasized that the Centre was outraged by the New York Times's recent front-page endorsement of Delhi's education model. When the BJP publicly slammed the article as "paid news," the newspaper responded forcefully, stating, "NYT is always independent, free from political or advertiser influence." Sisodia further denied any misconduct in the "transparent" excise policy while stating that his computer and phone had been seized.
"Our report about efforts to improve Delhi's education system is based on impartial, on-the-ground reporting, and education is an issue that The New York Times has covered over many years," Nicole Tylor, a spokesperson for the US-based daily reportedly stated.
"Kejriwal's first strength is his honesty....His second strength is that he works...and also gets work done. He showed how the education and health sectors should function," Sisodia further stated. "It's no coincidence that they are targeting....Kejriwal's health and education ministers. They know....I didn't indulge in any corruption. My fault is I'm Kejriwal's education minister. In a few days, I might get arrested," Sisodia added.
The CBI is looking into three allegations: The new policy resulted in a massive loss for the public coffers. Retail outlets were given to ineligible players. AAP government reportedly profited from kickbacks and "commissions." On July 30, Sisodia, who oversees the Excise department, announced a reversal of the policy and stated that as of August 1, only government establishments would sell alcohol in Delhi.
Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, said that previous searches found nothing against his government and that nothing would be found this time as well. Notably, Sisodia is the latest in a long line of opposition leaders reportedly targeted by central agencies, including Delhi's Health Minister Satyender Jain, who has been under judicial custody ever since he was arrested on May 30.