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Advised to join BJP or be ready to be arrested in a month, claims AAP's Atishi

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NewsDrum Desk
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New Delhi, Apr 2 (PTI) Four senior AAP leaders, including herself, would be arrested soon, Delhi minister Atishi said on Tuesday, claiming the BJP approached her through a "very close" person to join it or be prepared to be nabbed by the ED within a month.

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At a press conference here, Atishi claimed that she, Delhi Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj, MLA Durgesh Pathak and Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha would be arrested.

However, Delhi BJP chief Virendra Sachdeva claimed that Atishi was "lying". The entire Aam Aadmi Party was involved in the "liquor scam" and its leaders were fighting among themselves over the apprehension about who would be the next "sacrificial lamb", he said.

Atishi further claimed that she had been told that the Enforcement Directorate would conduct raids at her residence and that of her kin in the coming days. After that, summons would be sent and arrests would be made, she claimed.

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There is no reason for Arvind Kejriwal to resign as chief minister because he has neither been charge-sheeted nor convicted in the excise policy case. Moreover, he enjoys an "overwhelming majority in the Delhi Assembly, she said.

If he resigns from the chief minister post, it will become a "simple and straight standard operating procedure" for the BJP to topple governments by sending chief ministers behind bars in false cases, Atishi asserted.

"The BJP has realised that sending only Kejriwal to jail would not lead to the disintegration of the AAP and now it aims to get four second-line leaders of the party, including me, Saurabh Bharadwaj, Raghav Chadha and Durgesh Pathak, arrested," she said.

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"I was approached by the BJP through a person very close to me who asked me to join the BJP to save and enhance my political career. Or I will be arrested within a month." Atishi claimed the BJP has been rattled by the success of the INDIA bloc's Ramlila Maidan rally on Sunday and by the AAP's protests against Kejriwal's arrest.

"The BJP hoped AAP would disintegrate after the arrest of its top leaders -- Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, Sanjay Singh and Satyendar Jain. But now it feels that the next top four leaders need to be sent to jail," she said.

"I want to tell the BJP that we are not going to be scared by your threats. We are soldiers of Kejriwal and disciples of Bhagat Singh. We will fight to save the country and for the betterment of the people till the last AAP volunteer," she asserted.

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Bharadwaj termed the "offer" to Atishi to join the BJP or get arrested an "open threat. "Despite the arrest of four leaders, including Kejriwal, the AAP is surviving. So now they want to send the next line of leaders (to jail). The first would be me, next Atishi and then Raghav Chadha and Durgesh Pathak." He asserted that the AAP has had organic growth and the BJP should not be under the illusion that the party will fall to pieces with the arrest of its top leader. "The BJP wants to win over 400 Lok Sabha seats in the coming polls by sending people to jail," he charged.

Reacting to the AAP leaders' remarks, the Delhi BJP chief said, "Since Kejriwal has stated that excise policy case accused and AAP leader Vijay Nair, who is in jail, used to report to Atishi and Bharadwaj, the AAP leaders are fighting among them. Atishi by saving her skin has led Chadha and Pathak in trouble." Bharadwaj said Nair had given his statement one and half years ago and the BJP leaders were "using" it now which showed the party's "absurd political strategy".

Kejriwal, arrested on March 21 by the ED in connection with a money laundering case linked to the now-scrapped excise policy of his government, was on Monday sent to judicial custody till April 15 by a city court.

The AAP has accused the BJP of wanting to impose President's rule in Delhi by poaching its legislators and breaking the party. The AAP's Kirari MLA Rituraj Jha claimed he was offered Rs 25 crore to join the saffron party. PTI VIT NSD NSD

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