Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the arrest of former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia urging him to fight the perception that the AAP leader was being targeted for political reasons.
Vijayan said in his letter to PM, “I write this letter to invite the kind attention of the Hon’ble Prime Minister to the voices of protest that are being raised by leaders of several opposition parties, including some State Chief Ministers, on the arrest of Shri. Manish Sisodia, till recently a member of the Council of Ministers of the Delhi Government.”
“While refraining from commenting on the merits of the case under investigation, let me submit that the arrest of Sisodia has lent further force to the argument about certain actions of the central investigation agencies. It is the golden principle of natural justice that justice should not only be done but seem to be done too,” said the letter.
Vijayan said Sisodia is an elected representative of the people and has been appearing before the investigating agencies in response to their summons. Unless the arrest was imperative for preventing the impediment to the investigation, the desirable act would have been to avoid it.
“As per information coming out in the public domain, nothing incriminating like cash seizure has taken place in the case of Shri. Sisodia. While the law has to take its course, it is equally important that the widespread perception that Shri. Sisodia is being targeted for political reasons that need to be dispelled.
As we emphasise the principle of cooperative federalism, excessive actions on the part of anyone concerned should be avoided,” said Vijayan.
He also said in this matter, he hopes that guidance from the Prime Minister will go a long way in changing the present perception, which is reflected in the letter of important political leaders including some Chief Ministers in this matter.
On March 5, a move that showcased opposition unity, eight key opposition parties jointly wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi complaining about the center’s “blatant misuse of central agencies”.
However, Congress, which aims to lead a united opposition but shares a fractured relationship with some key opposition parties, including the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC), was conspicuous by its absence. The omission also led to a bigger question: will the fast-waning Grand Old Party be part of the grand alliance of opposition parties?
Meanwhile, in their letter, the opposition parties cited the recent arrest of Sisodia by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), saying that the country’s democratic values stand threatened under an authoritarian central regime.
The letter was written by leaders of AAP, TMC, RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal), BRS (Bharat Rashtra Samithi), Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (NC), Shiv Sena (UBT), Samajwadi Party (SP) and NCP (National Congress Party).