The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday slammed the Congress for not standing by it on the issue of Manish Sisodia's arrest, and alleged that both the grand old party and the BJP want all other political parties to cease to exist.
The Congress never stands by the Opposition and engages in a war of words with the BJP merely to "fool" the country, AAP chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj charged at a press conference.
Bharadwaj was replying to a question whether the Congress not joining the leaders of the nine opposition parties in writing a joint letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the alleged misuse of central agencies was an indication that the grand old party and the AAP would never be together under a united opposition umbrella.
"If you look at the history, you will find the Congress has never stood by the Opposition. Whenever it comes to raising voice on national issues, the Congress goes missing. They have gone missing today as well,” Bharadwaj charged.
"The entire world knows that Sisosdia has been arrested. Congress, which considers itself the big brother and says it will lead if any opposition alliance is formed, should have reached out to the opposition parties,” he said.
"Where is the Congress, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi?” he asked, alleging that all of them have gone missing because they are happy with what's happening in the country and with the AAP leaders.
Bharadwaj said the Congress is silent on the issue of alleged misuse of the central probe agencies and the arrest of the AAP leaders because both the grand old party and the BJP "want all opposition parties to cease to exist.”
“So that just the BJP and the Congress remain there,” he charged.
The AAP leader claimed that the opposition parties wanted to corner the BJP during the first part of the Budget Session on the alleged stock manipulation by the Adani group but the Congress gave the ruling party “a kind of safe passage” and let Parliament function by “breaking the opposition unity” on the issue.
“For almost one decade, the BJP has been talking about sending Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to jail. The BJP has been saying that they will send Robert Vadra also to jail. But nothing happened so far,” he said.
“Both the Congress and the BJP are engaged in a war of words just to fool the country,” the AAP spokesperson charged, adding “it's just an enmity of convenience".
Leaders of nine opposition parties, including Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, have written a joint letter to Prime Minister Modi alleging "blatant misuse" of central agencies against the members of the opposition.
The signatories of the letter are Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Bannerjee, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, Tejashwi Yadav (RJD), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Farooq Abdullah (Jammu & Kashmir National Conference), Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena, UBT) and Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party.
"The blatant misuse of central agencies against the members of the opposition appears to suggest that we have transitioned from being a democracy to an autocracy. The misuse of central agencies and constitutional offices like that of the governor to settle scores outside of the electoral battlefield is strongly condemnable as it does not bode well for our democracy," the letter read.
Highlighting Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia's arrest by the CBI in connection with the irregularities in the liquor policy, the leaders said the charges against the AAP leader were outright baseless and smack of a political conspiracy.
"His arrest has enraged people across the country. Sisodia is recognised globally for transforming Delhi's school education. His arrest will be cited worldwide as an example of a political witch-hunt and further confirm what the world was only suspecting - that India's democratic values stand threatened under an authoritarian BJP regime," they alleged.