Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday broke his silence on contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi against Narendra Modi.
He told a rally in Bangalore that he is ready to contest from Varanasi but also added that the final call will be taken at a rally in the holy city on March 23 after speaking to the people.
There was a lot of hype around this decision of Kejriwal and he had said earlier in the day said that he will announce the same at his Bangalore rally. He said that a rally will be held at Varanasi where he would seek the opinion of the people.
However, he indicated that the decision to contest against Modi was final and his mind was made up.
Further, he attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress stating that they are fielding corrupt candidates.
He questioned the decision of the BJP to field former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and possibly Sriramulu who had corruption charges against them. “On one hand they speak of eradicating corruption and on the other hadn field such candidates,” he told the rally at Bangalore’s Freedom Park.
“Everyone is seeking a change and they are not interested in either the BJP or the Congress. I have visited states ruled by the BJP and none of the people are happy,” he said.
Earlier in the day Kejriwal was part of a road show in Chikkballapur, 70 kilometres away from Bangalore. He managed to draw a decent crowd in this constituency where the Congress has fielded Veerappa Moily as its candidate.
"I know it is a big challenge. I know it is not a small challenge. We are not here for power or money. We have come here to sacrifice our lives for the country.....I feel I'm blessed if I get an oppertunity to sacrifice my life for the country as Baghat Singh did", he said.
The AAP leader's public declaration, though not definitive, comes a day after the BJP announced that Modi would be fielded from Varanasi, held by party veteran Murli Manohar Joshi who conceded the seat after reported hard bargaining.
"I have not come here for victory or defeat. We have come here for struggle. I accept this challenge," said Kejriwal who concluded his two-day visit to Karnataka with the rally.
"I'm a small man. I don't have anything. I don't have money or manpower. You will have to fight this election. Common man of this country has to fight this election," the AAP leader said as he poured scorn and vitriol on the Modi government in his speech.
"But I'm not accepting this election today. I will go to Varanasi. On March 23 we will have a rally in Varanasi. I appeal to the people of this country to come to Varanasi on 23rd," Kejriwal said.
He said, "The party has given me ticket but party giving ticket is not important to me. The day people of this country give ticket to me, I will fight against Narendra Modi."
Kejriwal also had a dig at Modi following reports that the BJP leader would fight the Lok Sabha polls from two constituencies, one from his home state apart from Varanasi, saying he was searching for a safe seat.
"Friends, I have been hearing for the past few days that Modi is preparing to fight this election from two seats. He is searching for one safe seat.... heard he will be contesting from one seat in Gujarat also...."
"....if he does it, it will be like he is leader of Gujarat but not fit to be prime minister of the country," said Kejriwal, who devoted good part of his speech to attack Modi and question the development model presented by him.
Kejriwal said, "....he has to contest from one seat. Contesting from two seats.. doubt will certainly arise in the minds of the people as to why he is searching for a safe seat."