AAP sole challenger to BJP, only Arvind Kejriwal can take on PM Modi: Raghav Chadha

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Raghav Chadha was speaking at The Indian Express’ ‘Idea Exchange’ in Noida, and claimed that the central agencies have been “blatantly misused” in the last eight years.

Raghav Chadha
AAP leader Raghav Chadha during Idea Exchange at Indian Express Noida office.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Raghav Chadha claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is out to destroy the Arvind Kejriwal-led party, besides arresting leaders like Delhi former deputy CM Manish Sisodia or ex-health minister Satyendar Jain.

The AAP leader further alleged that the BJP’s leadership had sent out a message to their cadres to “eliminate AAP”.

“We have maintained from day one that the BJP’s objective is not to arrest just Manish Sisodia or Satyendar Jain or Raghav Chadha. The idea is to destroy AAP and its leader Arvind Kejriwal. The objective is not one alleged excise irregularity, the idea is to completely eliminate the AAP, the idea of the AAP,” Chadha said, according to The Indian Express.

“In Gujarat, where I was co-campaign in-charge, I came to know that the BJP’s national leadership had given a message to its people and cadres not to worry about the Congress, even if it won three to six seats more than what they got last time. But they were told to eliminate AAP,” he added.

He also claimed that central agencies have been “blatantly misused” in the last eight years, and alleged that the BJP in power is trying to eliminate the Opposition.

“We’ve seen the blatant misuse of Central agencies over the last eight years. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has had only 23 convictions in the last eight years although it registered 3,550 new cases. This translates to a conviction rate of less than 0.05 per cent. With the pre-trial arrest being the only agenda of the ED, it is trying to eliminate the Opposition in general, and the AAP in particular, from Indian politics,” the AAP leader said.

In the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Chadha said that a “collective strategy” is required to “defeat the mighty BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi”. He further said that it is only Arvind Kejriwal in the current political scenario who can take on BJP and PM Modi.

“A new brand, vocabulary and a new idea of politics is required to challenge the BJP. If people like the alternative, they will vote,” Chadha said.

On Rahul Gandhi’s “democracy under threat” remarks in London, which created a political slugfest, the national spokesperson of AAP said that when one speaks on foreign soil, the person doesn’t endorse a political party, rather a nation, and thus one shouldn’t rake domestic politics outside the country.

“When we go to a foreign country, we don’t go there as BJP or AAP or Congress leaders, we represent the country. Having said that, let’s not make a political leader’s questions about the conduct of the ruling party the same as questioning India’s credentials overseas,” he said.

On reports of BJP trying to bring in a new National Judicial Appointments Commission, Chadha said that any attempt to tinker with the independence of the judiciary is “unconstitutional”.

“The existing collegium system has been upheld by the Supreme Court from 1992. Any attempt to tinker with the independence of the judiciary is per se unconstitutional. When names are sent by the collegium, they keep sitting on it and bargain with the judges. Then they will spoil the internal evaluation status of names suggested; they will manufacture reports and make a case to convince everybody the person is unfit to be a judge. Every right-thinking individual needs to oppose this,” he said.

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First published on: 24-04-2023 at 12:45 IST