Several members of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were detained on Wednesday as they protested seeking the resignation of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has been arrested in a corruption case.
The protest in the capital New Delhi prompted police efforts to disperse the crowd using water cannons and came a day after the Delhi High Court dismissed a plea challenging Kejriwal’s arrest, saying his detention was justified.
Kejriwal, a key opposition leader, was arrested by the financial crime-fighting agency last month on allegations of corruption relating to Delhi’s licence policy, ahead of general elections beginning on April 19 in which Modi is seeking a third term.
He was sent to prison until April 15 and is currently lodged in Tihar jail, where he joined two other senior leaders of his party who were imprisoned in the same case.
Kejriwal filed an appeal against the decision in the Supreme Court on Wednesday but the top court rejected his plea for an urgent hearing, local media reported.
Protesting near the headquarters of Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the capital, BJP members chanted slogans calling the leader “corrupt” and a “thief”. Police hauled them into buses and removed them from the spot.
“A government cannot be run from prison...if Arvind Kejriwal does not resign, the law will do its work,” BJP’s Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, leader of opposition in the Delhi assembly, told ANI news agency.
AAP leaders, who have maintained that the case against Kejriwal is “fabricated”, said he would not resign.
The AAP suffered a fresh setback on Wednesday when Delhi’s Social Welfare Minister Raaj Kumar Anand resigned from his post and from the party, saying he did not want his name to be connected with “corrupt behaviour”.
AAP leaders said Anand may have quit due to a fear of enforcement agencies.