India: Modi rival Kejriwal released on bail to campaign

India: Modi rival Kejriwal released on bail to campaign
India: Modi rival Kejriwal released on bail to campaign

India’s top court has granted Delhi’s chief elected official, Arvind Kejriwal, temporary bail so he can campaign in elections. His detention on corruption charges is seen by supporters as a bid to stymie the opposition.

India’s Supreme Court on Friday ordered jailed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the key leader of an alliance opposed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to be released on bail so that he can campaign in ongoing general elections.

Kejriwal has been in pre-trial detention since April 1, having been arrested on March 21 by India’s financial crime investigation agency on corruption allegations.

The government-controlled agency accused Kejriwal’s party and ministers of accepting 1 billion rupees ($12 million) in bribes from liquor contractors nearly two years ago. 

Accusations of political meddling

Modi’s government has denied having lent on the agency, the so-called Enforcement Directorate, to bring about Kejriwal’s arrest, but the opposition leader’s supporters continue to see the case as politically motivated.

Rallies in support of Kejriwal have been held in numerous other big cities around India. He has consistently rejected accusations of wrongdoing against him.

Kejriwal’s wife, Sunita, has been campaigning for his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in his place while he has been absent. 

In February, the AAP struck a deal to join the INDIA bloc, led by India’s main Congress opposition party. The bloc aims to be a substantive rival to Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Several leaders of the bloc are under criminal investigation.

India’s seven-phase general election began on April 19.  The National Capital Territory, of which Kejriwal is the leader, will vote on May 25.

Voting ends on June 1 and counting is scheduled for June 4.

Source: Dw

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