Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and 51 other AAP MLAs were detained on Sunday while marching towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence and freed after some four hours, police said.
All the legislators were taken to the Parliament Street police station in the heart of Delhi after being stopped just over one kilometre from Modi’s residence.
Accusing Delhi Police of arresting Aam Aadmi Party MLAs on fake charges, Sisodia said they wanted to go to Modi’s residence to offer themselves for en masse arrest.
“We will all go and surrender ourselves to Narendra Modi. There is an attempt by the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) to prevent the AAP government from working,” he said. “Every day they are arresting our MLAs.”
“Since they are doing the politics of arresting and harassing us one by one, why not arrest all of us at one go?” he told reporters before setting out to the prime minister’s residence.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and some other AAP MLAs were not part of the group led by Sisodia. The AAP has 67 members in the 70-seat Delhi assembly.
The AAP decision came a day after one of its legislators, Dinesh Mohaniya, was arrested from a press conference on charges of “sexual harassment” – a charge he has denied.
At the Parliament Street police station, the AAP MLAs dramtically began cleaning the complex, one of the MLAs said.
Eventually, just before 3 p.m., police released all of them.
“All the MLAs including Sisodia have been released,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Jatin Narwal told IANS.
Sisodia later accused Modi of sabotaging the Delhi government’s bills including on regulating fees in private schools, increasing the wages of labourers and ending the no detention policy in schools.
On Saturday, the president of the Ghazipur Vegetable Market Association here submitted a complaint against Sisodia, accusing him of intimidating traders during his official visit.
Delhi’s Rural Development Minister Gopal Rai said: “Why no action is taken against BJP leaders despite allegations? Why are only AAP legislators targeted?”
AAP’s Mohaniya was on Saturday sent to judicial custody.
The complaint was filed by a woman who visited his office-cum residence in Sangam Vihar in south Delhi over water related problems.