Rookie politician Arvind Kejriwal has said that Salman Khurshid’s remarks against him are gravely inappropriate for the Law Minister. “Mr Salman Khurshid has threatened me in language that is unbecoming of the Law Minister’s post,” he tweeted this afternoon. Another dramatic post declared, “Even if I am killed, 100 Arvinds will replace me because India is determined to combat graft.” Mr Kejriwal later said, “My life is in God’s hands, not Khurshid’s.”
Last night, Mr Khurshid appeared to threaten Mr Kejriwal about his proposed visit to the minister’s constituency of Farrukhabad in Uttar Pradesh. Mr Kejriwal says he will inform voters there about the allegations of graft confronting the minister.
“I don’t give a visa to go there but it’s a long road to Farrukhabad. It is 300 kilometres away (from Delhi). He can get there…but how will he return?” asked Mr Khurshid at his Delhi home on Tuesday night surrounded by his supporters. “I am trained as a lawyer…to work with ink and pens…but it is time to replace ink with blood,” he added.
That sort of talk calls for Mr Khurshid’s exigent removal by the Prime Minister and the President, said India Against Corruption, the civil society group that counts Mr Kejriwal among its leaders. “They can threaten us all they want…but we will not be deterred from going to Farrukhabad,” said Kumar Vishwas, a front-liner of the anti-graft movement.
The Congress today said if Mr Kejriwal has a problem, he should launch an FIR. Party spokesperson Rashid Alvi said, “He (Kejriwal) believes in cheap publicity.”
Mr Kejriwal, who launched his political party this month, has been demanding the minister’s resignation for alleged embezzlement of funds by his NGO, which Mr Khurshid has emphatically denied.
Mr Kejriwal’s campaign against the minister was initially based on a report that aired on a Hindi news channel which alleged the siphoning of 71 lakhs of funds sent to Mr Khurshid’s NGO in Uttar Pradesh to help the differently-abled. This week, Mr Kejriwal produced his own “witnesses”- people who were listed as beneficiaries of Mr Khurshid’s NGO said they had not received the equipment attributed to them in documents submitted by the non-profit.
Mr Khurshid has refuted the allegations, and has ruled out his resignation. He has also sued the Hindi news channel and its parent company for over 200 crores.
Mr Kejriwal held a sit-in protest in Delhi for four days demanding that Mr Khurshid be removed by the Prime Minister. When he ended that demonstration, he said he will campaign against the minister on his home turf of Farrukhabad.