New Delhi, Sep 1 (IANS) Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said he was “very pained” by what Sandeep Kumar did which led to his sacking on morality grounds even as the dropped minister alleged a conspiracy against him because he was a Dalit. The Congress and BJP slammed AAP over the alleged sex scandal.
In a video message, a pensive looking Kejriwal said he would prefer to die rather than deviate from the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) principles.
The AAP national convenor on Wednesday night sacked Sandeep Kumar as Social Welfare and Women and Child Development Minister over an alleged “sex video” involving Kumar.
On Thursday, Sandeep Kumar defended himself, saying he had resigned on his own and that he had been targeted because he was a “Dalit”.
In a bid to rebut the charge and accusations from elsewhere, Kejriwal said Sandeep Kumar had “betrayed” the AAP and all those who had made huge sacrifices to be a part of it, even by giving up full-time jobs.
“Sandeep Kumar has betrayed the entire movement. The AAP is the sole hope of the entire country. He had betrayed their hope,” he said.
Kejriwal said it was but natural for people to ask if there was any difference between the AAP and other political parties.
He said if any evidence of wrongdoing was brought against any AAP minister or leader, the party would take immediate action. This, he underlined, did not happen in other parties.
Kejriwal said this would apply to himself as well as all senior leaders.
“Be it Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia or anyone who is caught in activities which are against the party’s principles, none will be spared.
“I have told Manish to take strict action even against me if I am found guilty of doing any wrongdoing.”
Pointing out that Sandeep Kumar was the fourth senior party leader to be sacked for wrongdoing, he said: “We are sorry we had this rotten fish. But I am proud we have not tolerated them.”
The AAP did not compromise on its basic principles, he said. “Neither we indulge in corruption nor do we tolerate it.”
Defending himself Kumar alleged there was a “conspiracy” behind the alleged sex tape to frame him.
“I am a Dalit and I am paying for it. There is some conspiracy against me,” Kumar tweeted.
He said that charging and proving anything against people like him with the backing of money power was not a big deal.
“I have got a statue of Baba Saheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar at my house and I talk about Dalits and that’s why I am being targetted,” Kumar alleged.
Kejriwal named the BJP Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh (Shivraj Singh Chouhan), Rajasthan (Vasundhara Raje) and Chhattisgarh (Raman Singh) as well as former Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel as among those who were mired in corruption charges but who the BJP stoutly defended.
The Congress and the Akali Dal were no different in Punjab, he said, pointing to Congress leader Amarinder Singh as well as Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia.
“Instead of acting against these leaders, the BJP is trying to protect them.
Similarly, the Congress, instead of taking action against Captain Amarinder Singh, made him its head in Punjab. And the Akali Dal is protecting Majithia who is involved in drug trade,” he said.
BJP leader Satish Upadhyay on Thursday led a protest outside Kejriwal’s residence here over the alleged sex tape involving AAP leader Kumar.
“There is nothing to say on this as the true face of AAP has been exposed in public,” Upadhyay told IANS.
“They have said that they have transparent government and they don’t have any corrupt people in the party, but the fact is that their party is full of fraudsters,” Upadhyay said.
Former Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit told TimesNow: “It’s not just the ministers. Twenty-two MLAs have been involved in some corruption… The AAP government has run foul of law so many times now.”
“Sacking is not going to make any difference. If Kejriwal has found him guilty, why not throw him out of the party?” asked Sachin Pilot, another Congress leader.