Indian Opposition Leader Hits Out at Modi After Release on Bail

(Bloomberg) -- Indian opposition leader Arvind Kejriwal said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party is losing support in ongoing national elections and will struggle to form the next government, lashing out at his rival a day after he was released on interim bail.

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Kejriwal said at a rally on Saturday that all opposition leaders risk being sent to jail should Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party return to power. The New Delhi chief minister was arrested in March on allegations of money laundering, and has been released for a few weeks to allow him to campaign.

“I talked to poll experts and people, BJP is not going to form govt after June 4,” Kejriwal said at the rally in the capital, adding that he believes his Aam Aadmi Party will be part of the central government.

Poor turnout is prompting concerns about voter disengagement in the world’s largest poll, though analysts say it doesn’t necessarily suggest an advantage for either side. Investors said the concerns are weighing on Indian markets, with the country’s main stock index suffering its biggest one-day drop in four months on Thursday over worries that low participation could hurt Modi’s re-election prospects.

Kejriwal, 55, is among several senior leaders of AAP who have been arrested on allegations that the party’s government in the national capital skewed the alcohol pricing in the region in exchange for bribes. AAP has consistently denied the allegations and often termed them as political witch-hunt by the BJP-led government that controls the federal investigative agencies.

Before Kejriwal, the chief minister of Jharkhand state, Hemant Soren, was also arrested by the Directorate of Enforcement.

Read More: In Bid for Survival, India’s Opposition Tries to Work Together

While Modi, 73, is widely expected to win a third five-year term in elections that conclude next month, there has been public discussion on how many terms he will ultimately contest. At an interview recently when asked if he would contest in 2029, Modi said a country shouldn’t be run on the basis of one person alone.

Kejriwal said on Saturday that he believes Modi will retire next year and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, his long time confidant, will be next in line to become prime minister.

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