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The Hindu
The Hindu

AAP MP Sanjay Singh recalls Tihar days: Initial days were quite difficult inside small cell, but I was strong

AAP MP Sanjay Singh on April 6 said he stayed "resolute and brave" during his six-month stay in Tihar jail and even asked his family members not to "shed a tear" during their virtual interactions.

The Rajya Sabha member was granted bail in the Delhi excise policy-linked money laundering case by the Supreme Court on Tuesday. He walked out of Tihar jail on Wednesday after being lodged there for nearly six months.

In an interview to PTI, he recalled his days inside Tihar, which currently houses Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and senior AAP leaders Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain.

"The initial 11 days were quite difficult. I was inside a small cell and was not allowed to step outside. I was under police security. Subsequently, I spoke to the jail administration and demanded that I be given rights as a normal prisoner," he told PTI.

Thereafter, he said, he was allowed to move out at fixed timings under police security.

"They decided to allow me to go to music room, badminton court at fixed times. Even the issues related to food were also addressed," he said.

The senior party leader said that he used the jail time to read books since he did not have a mobile phone.

"I read in those six months — the writings of Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr (Ram Manohar) Lohia, Bhagat Singh. Maine 6 mahine mein utna padha jitna main 6 saal mein nahi padh paaya (In these six months I read more than what I had done in six years)," he said.

After spending six months in Tihar, he said his "morale is quite strong" and it will strengthen his fight ahead.

"Either you sit at home or fight. We will fight," he said.

While Singh was in jail, his wife Anita was taking care of everything. Talking about how his family dealt with his absence, he said he spent the time bravely and even asked his family to stay strong.

"It is a tough situation for any family if they battle such circumstances. But the question is how can we stand strongly? I was so cautious. I knew that the video conferencing that takes place between inmates and their families is recorded," he said.

He said he would try to regale his family with interesting anecdotes from the jail or some funny incident.

"I would tell them stories that make them laugh. The first day they asked me how are you, how is your health. I told them to always ask me 'jail waale kaise hain'. Nobody was allowed to cry. I told them this is being recorded. The people sitting at the top would be happy seeing them in tears or seeing Sanjay Singh dejected," he said.

"I was resolute and brave throughout my jail days," he said.

For a major part of his stay, he was housed in cell number 28 in jail number two but was later transferred to jail number five.

"This is weird. I was transferred from jail number two to jail number five. Manish Sisodia is in a separate jail and Satyendar Jain is in a separate jail. I don't know why they consider us such big accused that we were all kept in separate jails. I was under CCTV surveillance 24x7," he said.

Mr. Singh was admitted to ILBS Hospital when he got to know about the Supreme Court granting his bail.

"I have been undergoing treatment at ILBS Hospital for the last three-to-four years. A report had come after which the doctor suggested liver biopsy. At that time, I was admitted to ILBS for that," he said.

Mr. Kejriwal was arrested on March 21 in the same case as Mr. Singh. Elaborating on the arrest of Mr. Kejriwal and its impact, he said it has given strength to party workers in terms of working and reaching out to people.

"Today Kejriwal is not here but workers are trying to fill that gap. The people of Delhi will give a befitting reply (in elections)," he said.

In this scenario, Arvind Kejriwal's wife Sunita Kejriwal has come in the limelight.

She has addressed three digital briefings so far, in which she read out his messages from the ED custody and Tihar jail. In a political debut of sorts, she read out his message at the INDIA bloc 'maharally' on March 31.

"She has a key role since she is the only one who is able to meet him and through her the directions reach party workers. It is a very emotional situation for her. I saw tears in her eyes for first time after I met her (following his release from Tihar). The way our families, our workers, the people of Delhi have been tormented, the people will give a reply," he asserted.

Mr. Singh alleged a "conspiracy" behind the arrest of Mr. Kejriwal and said that he, along with Jain, Sisodia, will be out soon.

"This is not a good thing. If you are starting this practice of dictatorship, it's not a good thing. We will have to work harder.

"If Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi was certain about victory, he would not have done these. Freezing bank accounts of the Congress, arresting chief minister, there is a fear in them. BJP is losing elections. They are doing this out of fear. No politician will do such things unless there is a fear of loss.

"This is backfiring on them. People are developing sympathy... with Kejriwal," he added.

As for the Lok Sabha election campaign, Mr. Singh said he will work for the party in whatever role he will be assigned, and will campaign for candidates of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as well as the INDIA bloc.

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