AAP claims party office sealed after Kejriwal arrest, urges EC to ensure 'level playing field'

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwat Maan with other AAP workers and supporters during a protest over the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, at Shaheedi Park, in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party office in Delhi has been "sealed" from all sides, its senior leader Atishi claimed on Saturday and said the party will report the matter to the Election Commission.

A Delhi Police officer refuted the allegation that the AAP office has been sealed. Police personnel were deployed at DDU Marg to stop the gathering of people since CrPC section 144 is imposed there, the officer said.

According to the police, around 500 AAP workers as well as leaders from Delhi and Punjab gathered at Shaheedi Park located at Bahadurshah Zafar Marg on Saturday.

"These people, who never took any permission for the gathering, suddenly started marching towards DDU Marg. Since section 144 was imposed at DDU Marg, which has the Rouse Avenue Court and offices of many political parties, we stopped them. We detained 25 of them briefly and they were later released," Deputy Commissioner of Police (central) M Harsha Vadhan said.

In a post on X, Atishi questioned the "sealing" of the party office, saying it goes against the concept of having a "level playing field" in elections as promised by the Constitution.

Delhi Minister and AAP leader Atishi Singh with party workers and supporters at Shaheedi Park during a protest over the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in connection with an excise policy-linked money-laundering case, in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: PTI

"How can access to a national party's office be stopped during the Lok Sabha election? This (is) against the 'level playing field' promised in the Indian Constitution. We are seeking time with the Election Commission (EC) to complain against this," the Delhi minister said in her post.

Another senior AAP leader and Delhi Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj alleged that all access to the party office has been stopped by the Union government.

"We will approach EC. The Central government has closed all access to the AAP head office at ITO, that too in Model Code of Conduct," he said in a post on X.

AAP leaders also alleged that Atishi was stopped by the police near Barakhambha Road, to prevent her from heading to her home.

In a press conference, Bharadwaj said the Election Commission should act as a neutral institution and ensure strict action against police officers.

Police detain an AAP supporter during a protest at the Shaheedi Park over the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: PTI

The AAP office at DDU Marg near ITO in central Delhi was also blocked on Friday during a protest by party leaders and volunteers near the BJP headquarters, against the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Bharadwaj said he and Atishi were stopped from going to the party office. How can a national party's office be sealed during elections, he asked. Bharadwaj also claimed that the vehicle in which Atishi was going home was stopped by the police.

Atishi also posted a video on X in which she can be seen arguing with a Delhi Police officer while some AAP leaders laid down on the road as a mark of protest over being stopped by the police.

She said in a post on X that the AAP has sought an urgent appointment with the Election Commission, to ensure a level playing field in the Lok Sabha elections. Atishi also said the AAP's Matiala MLA Gulab Singh's house was raided by the IT department.

However, DCP Vardhan said, "The AAP office was never sealed by police. Police personnel are deployed as (CrPC) section 144 is imposed at DDU Marg and any kind of gathering is prohibited."

Another officer said Atishi and her associates were not stopped from going home. "As section 144 is imposed in the whole district of New Delhi, they were stopped to know if they were going to hold any protests or gathering," he said.

AAP national convener Kejriwal was remanded to Enforcement Directorate custody till March 28, following his arrest on Thursday by the agency in connection with a money-laundering case linked to the now-scrapped excise policy of the Delhi government.

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