Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal has made it abundantly clear that he would contest against Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi from Varanasi.
En route Varanasi -- where he is going to hold a referendum on whether he should contest -- Kejriwal tells Somesh Jha, on board the Shiv Ganga Express, more than anything else, the party will look to defeat Modi and Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi from Amethi.
What do you think of Narendra Modi contesting in two seats?
There is a need for a change in the law. No politician should be allowed to contest from two seats. What is the point? Why does one want to contest from a safe seat?
But if you are saying that the Gujarat model of development is a failure, people are intelligent enough not to vote for Modi if there is no progress. So, why do you call it a safe seat?
The point is that there is no alternative in Gujarat. People are compelled to vote only for the BJP. The Congress does not pose a challenge to them.
But in this election, the AAP is there in Gujarat. It can defeat Modi from Vadodara...
Let us see what happens.
What is your main focus in these elections?
In this election, the focus is only on two seats -- Varanasi and Amethi. Both Modi and Gandhi are ruthless emperors and there is a need to throw them out of the political arena.
No matter whichever party gets the majority, if both of them are defeated, the country will win. There is a need to shake their empires.
But what are the main issues in the Lok Sabha elections?
The main issues are corruption and communalism. These are the two sides of the same coin. Modi's only mission is to get 272 seats, but, on the other hand, his party has fielded tainted candidates. They do not care about the country.
You need to win the elections if you want to bring about change in the system. What if you don’t?
We are not here to win, but to save the country. In Varanasi, one candidate will be fighting to become the prime minister and the other to save the nation. There is a need to defeat such leaders.
It is not about my victory or defeat. The people of India should win. If we lose, the people of the country will lose.
Have you identified the local issues in Varanasi?
In 2014, the elections will not be fought on local issues, it will be fought on the national ones.
So is the case in Varanasi. I am going there to tell this to the people of Varanasi, in the rally.
The real issues won’t be bad conditions of roads in Varanasi, but the pathetic condition of the country in the hands of the traditional parties. If you save the country from them, the people of Varanasi will ultimately win.
Why didn’t you take a referendum from Delhi citizens before deciding to fight the Lok Sabha elections?
This time I am asking all the people of India and not just Delhi. In Gurgaon, during my rally, I asked them if they are happy with the current state of affairs in politics and a majority of them disapproved (of the way the country is being run).
Why have you shifted the entire focus on Modi?
That is not true at all. Both Modi and Rahul are our main targets. After April 10, I will go to both Varanasi and Amethi, stay there, talk to people and fight the battle.
You have often attacked the media in your speeches. You said media is purchased by politicians. What do you think is the solution?
My only request is that media houses should disclose their political loyalties and stakes held by various players in the market. There is a need for regulation.
So, do you mean the media should not be in private hands?
In fact, the media should not be run by the government at all. I am not against privatisation of the media channels but I stand for a strong regulation and transparency.
Your party says you do not indulge in vote-bank politics. But during the Delhi assembly elections, the auto-rickshaw drivers backed you. When you came to power, you held a sabha and you eased certain laws for them. So isn't this vote-bank politics?
The entire country is our vote bank. Actually, this is different from vote-bank politics. All of them are different segments of the society and every set of people have their own needs.
When you talk of communalism, what are the main issues concerning minority communities that you think need to be addressed?
Safety and security are the pillars that need to be strengthened. Today, our politicians can even kill thousands of people in a blink of an eye.
Your party was born in an urban setup. What are the issues that you hear from villagers?
The only mudda (issue) is honest politics. Any other thing is just the symptom and its root cause is dishonest politics.
Image: AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal reaches Varanasi ' Photograph Courtesy: https://www.facebook.com/AAPkaArvind