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Delhi minister Raaj Kumar Anand quits AAP, takes parting shot at Arvind Kejriwal | Latest News Delhi

Delhi minister Raaj Kumar Anand quits AAP, takes parting shot at Arvind Kejriwal | Latest News Delhi

NEW DELHI: Delhi social welfare minister Raaj Kumar Anand on Wednesday resigned from the council of ministers and the party, saying he joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) when it was set up to fight corruption but had ended up trapped in corruption.

Delhi minister Raaj Kumar Anand speaks to the media after he resigned from the cabinet and quit the AAP on Wednesday (PTI)

The Patel Nagar MLA’s resignation comes as a huge blow to the AAP after the arrest of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal last month over alleged irregularities in the 2021-22 excise policy. Former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia is already in jail in the same case.

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“I am very pained today. I came into politics when Arvind Kejriwal said that politics will change and the country will change. But today I am saying with regret, that politics did not change, the politician changed. AAP was born against corruption, but today this party is itself trapped in corruption. It has become difficult for me to hold the office of the minister and work in this government. I am resigning from the minister and the party’s membership because I do not want to get my name included in the corrupt practices. I do not believe that we have the moral power to govern anymore,” Anand, who was also a member of AAP’s national council. said at a Press conference to announce his exit.

Anand’s resignation from AAP comes a day after the Delhi high court rejected Kejriwal’s petition to release him from jail, noting that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has sufficient evidence “at this stage which points out towards the guilt” of the AAP convener for the commission of the offence of money laundering in connection to the excise policy case.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) in November 2023 raided Anand’s premises as part of its probe under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) based on a charge sheet filed by the Directorate of Revenue and Intelligence (DRI).

DRI alleged that Anand made false declarations in the import of certain items, leading to a customs evasion of more than 7 crore.

Anand was sworn in as minister in November 2022, replacing Rajendra Pal Gautam, who resigned as social welfare minister after his presence at a religious conversion event sparked a political controversy in October 2022.

As he exited the party, Anand also attacked AAP for disrespecting Dalits.

“I joined AAP and Arvind Kejriwal to pay back to society. They talked about walking the path shown by Bhim Rao Ambedkar. They use pictures of Ambedkar in offices but when it comes to implementation and representation of Dalits, AAP steps back. There is no respect for Dalit leaders in AAP. In the top leadership of the party, there is no Dalit and no Dalit leader is given big political responsibility which makes Dalit leaders of AAP feel cheated. It had become difficult for me to stay in this party. I have sent my resignation,” said Anand.

A postgraduate in political science, Raaj Kumar Anand and his wife joined the anti-corruption movement in 2011 that set the ground for the formation of the AAP, and in the 2013 assembly election his wife Veena Anand won as MLA from Patel Nagar. She was, however, not fielded by the AAP in the 2015 election and the assembly constituency was represented by another AAP leader Hazari Lal Chauhan. Anand won the 2020 assembly election.

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