The West Bengal unit of AAP on Monday staged a demonstration near BJP state headquarters here to protest the arrest of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia by the CBI in connection with an alleged case of corruption relating to the now-scrapped excise policy.
The ruling TMC in the state, too, condemned the arrest as a "reflection of authoritarian rule". Sisodia's arrest, one of the most high-profile actions against an opposition leader, comes after that of Satyendar Jain, Delhi's then health minister, in June last year.
Carrying posters and placards that criticised the BJP government at the Centre, AAP activists, who had huddled next to Mohammed Ali Park, sought Sisodia's immediate release. The police, however, stopped them from approaching the state BJP office at Murlidhar Sen Lane.
"The BJP government's political vendetta against AAP has been exposed with Sisodia's arrest. He was arrested even though there was no concrete evidence against him," one of the protesters said. The TMC, too, hit out at the saffron camp, claiming that the central agencies are being "misused" to harass opposition leaders.
"This is another example of the Centre's dictatorial attitude. Anyone who opposes them, (BJP leaders) gets arrested. Central agencies are misused to threaten and harass opposition leaders," TMC MP Santanu Sen said.
Echoing him, TMC Rajya Sabha party leader Derek O'Brien claimed that no action would have been initiated against Sisodia, had he been a part of the saffron camp.
"If Manish Sisodia had got himself a BJP brand of washing machine, he would (have) never been arrested. Bravo, Manish. Allies, Shiv Sena, SAD, JD(U), TDP, and many others have all abandoned BJP. Only CBI, ED, and I-T remain true allies. "Targeting Opposition leaders is the DESPERATE DUO'S favourite job," O'Brien said in a tweet, without naming anyone.