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aap leadership behind bars why sanjay singh bail raises hopes in party
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AAP leadership behind bars, why Sanjay Singh bail raises hopes in party

An AAP orator next only to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, a Member of Parliament with links across Opposition parties apart from his hold on MLAs in Delhi and Punjab — for a party that has its top brass behind bars, the Supreme Court’s grant of bail to Sanjay Singh could not have been more timely. With Singh set to be released from Tihar Jail where he spent the last six months after his arrest under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, senior AAP leaders went into a huddle Tuesday afternoon to discuss plans for their Rajya Sabha MP ahead of the party’s Lok Sabha campaign. His release promises to tackle challenges that may be bigger than the upcoming Lok Sabha elections – that of keeping the AAP flock intact, and removing the hurdles in communicating with INDIA bloc parties following his arrest last October. “He is very important to the organisation in Delhi, having been with the party since its India Against Corruption days… He will be able to keep the flock together and quell dissent among those who may have been approached and thinking about jumping ship, not just in Delhi but also in Punjab,” a senior AAP leader said. Ever since the arrest of Kejriwal, the party’s star draw, its election campaigns in Delhi and Punjab have taken a hit. The party had been concentrating on organising protests against his arrest, and the results in some sections were poor. This, a senior AAP leader said, was set to change after Singh’s return because he is likely to take the lead in organising daily public meetings to mobilise support against Kejriwal’s arrest. “It is true that the response from people in some parts was not as strong as we would have liked. The people and the cadre were demoralised. Sanjay Ji’s release on bail will help solve this problem; he is not only very hard working but has a personal relationship both with AAP leaders as well as supporters,” a party leader said. The timing, the leader said, would be crucial in this regard. “In Delhi’s politics, initiating issues of political nature takes as much time as it does for them to die down; the issue of the arrest of the CM is crucial and it must peak around polling time (towards the end of May),” the leader said. Another leader pointed out that before his arrest, Singh was in touch with Opposition parties on alliance matters. “Sanjay Bhai is a man who has built personal and political relationships with people across party lines. He is AAP’s anchor and the go-to man for Opposition parties. He was also a key player in all protests inside and outside Parliament. Not only AAP, the INDIA bloc stands to benefit from his return,” another key AAP leader said. Some others in the party also see Singh’s bail as a “moral victory”. “While the BJP is trying to further the narrative that Sanjay Singh got bail because the ED did not oppose it, anyone who goes through the Supreme Court observations can see that it was because the investigating agency did not have any arguments on merit. For us, this is a big moral victory. And it will give a big boost to our campaign. He will hold rallies and public meetings not just in Delhi but across the country. While the BJP started the campaign for us by arresting Arvind Kejriwal, Sanjay Singh will now take it forward,” a leader who participated in the party huddle said. The Delhi BJP, meanwhile, said grant of bail to Singh was evidence of “the impartiality of the judiciary and investigating agencies”. Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva said, “Until this morning, AAP leaders were repeatedly alleging that the Central government was misusing investigating agencies to imprison our leaders. But today, the lack of opposition by the investigating agency to the bail application of MP Sanjay Singh has established that the investigating agencies only demand the custody of the accused until it is legally necessary. Sanjay Singh’s bail is a lesson for Opposition leaders who should understand that both imprisonment and bail are granted by law, not by investigating agencies or the government.”

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