Indian opposition protests in capital against Kejriwal’s arrest ahead of vote

India’s top opposition alliance leader and thousands of supporters rallied in the capital to denounce “dictatorship” and protest against the arrest of a senior colleague ahead of the election.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, a key leader of the opposition alliance formed to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was jailed in early March for a long-standing corruption case Arrested and imprisoned due to investigation.

The Kejriwal government has been accused of taking kickbacks in issuing liquor licenses to private companies. On Thursday, the court extended Kejriwal’s custody till April 1.

Kejriwal, 55, denies the charges. His Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said the liquor policy case was fabricated and politically motivated.

India’s main financial investigation agency, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which arrested Kejriwal, has opened investigations into at least four other state chief ministers or their family members. Nearly all the investigations involve political opponents of Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Several leaders of two dozen political parties from India’s opposition alliance, the National Alliance for Development and Inclusion of India, spoke at the rally.

“The country is heading toward dictatorship,” Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray, the former chief minister of Maharashtra, told a cheering crowd on Sunday. “This dictatorship is ruining the country.”

Flag-waving crowds at Sunday’s rally also carried posters showing Kejriwal was behind bars, watched by a heavy police presence.

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By Ali Raza

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