Top Indian opposition leader released on bail ‘begs’ voters to fight ‘dictatorship’

A top opponent of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged his compatriots to resist "dictatorship" on Saturday, after the country's top court provisionally released him from jail to campaign in national elections.

Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister of the capital Delhi and a key leader in an opposition alliance formed to compete against Modi in the polls, was granted bail on Friday after weeks in custody.

He is among several leaders of the bloc under criminal investigation, with his party describing his arrest as a "political conspiracy" orchestrated by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to sideline its opponents ahead of the vote.

In a defiant press conference the day after his release, Kejriwal said the outcome of the election would determine whether India remained a democracy.

"I have come to beg 1.4 billion people to save my country," he said. "Save my country from this dictatorship."

Kejriwal also personally accused the prime minister of targeting his opponents with criminal probes.

"Modi has started a very dangerous mission," he said. "Modi will send all opposition leaders to jail."

Kejriwal's government was accused of corruption when it liberalised the sale of liquor in 2021 and gave up a lucrative government stake in the sector.

More than 1,000 cheering supporters greeted him as he walked free from the capital's Tihar Jail on Friday night.


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