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Business News/ Politics / News/  Arvind Kejriwal released: Back at crease, will Delhi CM be the impact player in Lok Sabha polls?

Arvind Kejriwal released: Back at crease, will Delhi CM be the impact player in Lok Sabha polls?

Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal's interim bail will boost the party's campaign in 20 seats of Delhi and Punjab, which will be voting on May 25 and June 1, respectively, during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections 2024.

Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party is in power in Delhi and Punjab – two states where the elections are scheduled in the remaining phases. (HT_PRINT)Premium
Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party is in power in Delhi and Punjab – two states where the elections are scheduled in the remaining phases. (HT_PRINT)

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was released from Tihar jail on Friday evening, hours after the Supreme Court granted him interim bail till June 1 in connection with his alleged role in the liquor policy case. 

The top court asked Kejriwal to surrender on June 2, two days before the scheduled announcement of the results of the Lok Sabha elections 2024.

The release assumes significance as it comes right in the middle of Lok Sabha elections. While three phases of polling are over, four more phases are scheduled to take place on May 13, May 20, May 25 and June 1. 

Follow all updates on Arvind Kejriwal's interim bail here

Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is in power in Delhi and Punjab – two states where the elections are scheduled in the remaining phases. Seven Delhi seats and 10 Haryana seats will vote in the fifth phase on May 25. The 13 seats of Punjab will vote in the sixth phase on June 1.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Kejriwal in the alleged Delhi liquor excise policy scam on March 21.

'Moral Booster for AAP'

Out on bail, Arvind Kejriwal has ample time to campaign for Delhi and Punjab seats in the next few weeks. In Delhi, the AAP is contesting elections in alliance with the Congress party. The AAP got four of the seats in Delhi while the Congress has fielded candidates in the remaining three seats as per the seat-sharing deal. In Punjab, the party is contesting 13 seats on its own.

Clearly, AAP cadres will be re-energised with Kejriwal’s release in election season. The workers will leave no stone unturned during the campaign. Arvind Kejriwal is not just the poster boy of AAP, but he is also among the opposition leaders who are of national prominence. 

Also Read: 'Here I am': Arvind Kejriwal exits Tihar jail after SC grants him interim bail | Watch

"This is the victory of truth...I thank the SC for coming forward to save the Constitution and democracy. Arvind Kejriwal will come out of Tihar Jail this evening and I am sure he will address the people of Delhi and the country," Delhi minister and senior AAP leader Atishi Marlena told news agency ANI.

Kejriwal addressed a gathering soon after the release on Friday evening and shared his schedule for May 11.

INDIA bloc welcomes Kejriwal's release

The release has been welcomed by many leaders within the INDIA bloc parties, including the Samajwadi Party and the Congress. "We welcome the intervention by the Supreme Court in granting interim bail to Arvind Kejriwal," Congress leader Pawan Khera said. "We hope the ex-Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Hemant Soren, also gets due justice," Khera said.

Kejriwal is among the two opposition chief ministers who have been in jail in the election season. The other chief minister Jharkhand's Hemant Soren resigned before being arrested, but Kejriwal didn’t. Trinamool Congress leader and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee also welcomed Kejriwal's release.

Being the AAP’s top star campaigner, Kejriwal will directly lead the campaign in Delhi and Punjab where his party is in power. 

Impact Player, Arvind Kejriwal

Analysts say, keeping in mind Arvind Kejriwal’s style of campaigning, he might make the Lok Sabha contest difficult for the BJP, at least in Delhi. 

“It remains to be seen what idioms Kejriwal uses during his campaigns, but as a leader, he has the ability to make the contests in Delhi very tough for the BJP," said Rahul Verma, political analyst and fellow, Centre for Policy Research (CPR).

One of the bail conditions for Kejriwal is that he cannot speak about the Delhi liquor policy case or discuss the allegations against him while he is out.

Also Read: AAP names jailed leaders Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia as star campaigners for Lok Sabha polls in Gujarat

In its political campaign so far, the AAP has been raising Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest as an issue and earning some sympathy due to it, according to observers. And with his release due to interim bail, days ahead of Lok Sabha elections in Delhi and Punjab, Arvind Kejriwal might as well be the ‘impact player’ in about 21 days of campaigning left before he has to surrender again on June 2. 

In cricket parlance, impact player allows one substitute player per team to play an active part in matches with bat or ball during the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) season.

Delhi Voting Pattern

Looking at the last two Lok Sabha elections, Delhi has shown a split voting pattern. This means while voters have backed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in two general elections – 2014 and 2019, the same voters elected the AAP repeatedly in assembly elections since 2015.

Also Read: Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Their silence ominous, says Chidambaram on demand to probe PM Modi's 'Ambani-Adani' jibe

In the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, the BJP had won all the seven seats of Delhi. In Punjab, the Congress had won eight seats, the Akali Dal won two seats, the BJP won two seats and the AAP won only one seat in the 2019 general elections.

“Delhi and Punjab are key to the INDIA bloc. These two states sent 20 members to the Lok Sabha. The timing of Kejriwal’s release is crucial since both the states are going to polls while he remains out on bail. It will obviously impact the elections," said a party leader who did not want to be named.

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Published: 10 May 2024, 06:17 PM IST
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