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Rediff.com  » News » Aligning with Cong or BJP will be like cheating people: Kejriwal

Aligning with Cong or BJP will be like cheating people: Kejriwal

November 18, 2013 13:59 IST

'We will sweep Delhi elections, not just play spoilsport'

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With the entry of the Aam Aadmi Party, a party that originated from Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement, this year's assembly elections in Delhi has become a three-cornered contest. In its first electoral battle, AAP has embarked on an aggressive campaign hoping to capitalise on public discontent over issues such as rampant corruption, high electricity tariffs and inflation.

In an interview, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal tells Business Standard’s Manish Kumar that his party will not be a junior partner in any government that is formed in Delhi. Edited excerpts:

Some people allege that the possibility of the formation of a government by the Aam Aadmi Party is out of question but you would be a spoilsport for the Bharatiya Janata Party by eating into the anti-Congress votes. How do you react to this?

AAP was formed only in November last year. In less than a year, various surveys and polls are predicting that the AAP would get more than 25 per cent of the vote share. The recent ABP Nielsen survey also said that our party would get more that 26 per cent votes. Our estimate is that we would get around 32 per cent votes if polling takes place today.

As the election nears, the vote share is bound to increase to a very significant figure. What is interesting is that our share has only increased over the months, whereas that of the Congress and the BJP has dipped. This upward trend is indicative of a party that is going to sweep the elections rather than that of a "spoilsport". This has happened only twice in history before, once with the Telugu Desam Party and again with the Asom Gana Parishad. History is going to repeat itself in Delhi this time.

In case of a hung assembly, which is being widely predicted, would you support the BJP or the Congress to form the government?

No, we will not support either of them.

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Image: Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejirwal
Photographs: Courtesy: AAP/Facebook

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'Aligning with Cong or BJP will be like cheating people'

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Would you force another election on the people of Delhi?

Talking in terms of pure facts and figures, surveys are predicting a landslide win for AAP. Moreover, Delhi's common man is tired of both the Congress, and the BJP.

It wants clean politics now, which is being delivered by AAP. If we align ourselves with either the BJP or the Congress, this would be like cheating the people of Delhi. We would never align with these parties to form a government. We are confident that AAP would form the government on its own.

Your party leader Yogendra Yadav was removed from the University Grants Commission panel for allegedly "politicising the UGC". However, according to a newspaper report, Subhash Yadav, former deputy chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, was appointed as a member of the commission even though he was an active member of the Congress. What is AAP's reaction in light of this fact?

Right from the time of Annaji's (Hazare) aandolan, there has been a targeted attack on us. Manish Sisodia's non-governmental organisation was accused of getting foreign funds. For three days, home ministry officials sat day and night at his office but could not find an iota of irregularity.

Finally, they had to tell the courts that all accounts of the NGO were correct. Similarly, other leaders have been targeted as well. But we are not afraid since this only shows the frustration of other parties.

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Image: AAP supporters put up posters depicting results of poll surveys on an autorickshaw in Delhi
Photographs: Courtesy: AAP/Facebook

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'BJP's fortunes have fallen drastically due to infighting'

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Do you think Narendra Modi's coronation, as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate would also have some impact on the assembly elections in Delhi?

It is too early to comment on this issue. However, people know that in Delhi, BJP's chief ministerial candidate would be Harsh Vardhan, and not Narendra Modi. The results of various opinion polls indicate that the BJP's fortunes have fallen drastically due to infighting within the party.

Former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad and a Congress member of Parliament were convicted recently in corruption cases. Your party has always claimed a high moral ground on the issue of corruption in politics. Do you think such convictions of high-profile politicians will help check corruption in politics?

Corruption is the root cause of most of the problems that are plaguing our country today. And one of the root causes of corruption is political corruption which is evident from scams such as the 2G spectrum allocation, coal-gate etc.

It is the hard-earned money of taxpayers such as you and me that is being looted away. Unless and until we put a full stop to this corruption, we would not be able move towards development.

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Image: A BJP supporter carries a cutout of Narendra Modi outside the party headquarters in New Delhi
Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters

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'If there was nothing to hide Dikhsit would have agreed for debate'

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How do you view the BJP's announcement that Harsh Vardhan would be its chief ministerial candidate?

The BJP recently declared Harsh Vardhan to be its chief ministerial candidate banking on his "clean" image. Like the United Progressive Alliance government -- that after indulging in massive scams hid behind the "clean" image of the prime minister -- the BJP, too, is doing the same in Delhi. But the people of Delhi know what the BJP has done in the last seven years in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

We would like to ask why Harsh Vardhan was silent when electricity prices were being increased drastically? What was his and the BJP's contribution when the Damini and Gudiya incidents took place?

Look at the condition of the departments that come under the MCD where the BJP is in power. The MCD schools are in a mess. The hospitals/dispensaries do not have adequate facilities. The BJP is to be blamed equally for Delhi's poor condition.

You had invited Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for an open debate. However, it just elicited a one-line reply - "Main Kejriwalji ko jawab nahin dungi." (I will give Kejriwalji a reply). Earlier, too, such invitations had not been reciprocated by other leaders. What is your reaction on this?

We had invited Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for an open debate. Debate is an integral part of a healthy democracy. For example, in the US, there are presidential debates. Her response has raised suspicion in the people's mind. If there was nothing to hide, then anyone in her place would have readily agreed for the debate.


Image: Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit
Photographs: Matt King/Getty Images

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