Full text of interview with Arvind Kejriwal

AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal addressing supporters at Shakurpur on Wednesday.

AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal addressing supporters at Shakurpur on Wednesday.  

For both the BJP and the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party is Enemy No. 1 in Delhi; keeping its leader Arvind Kejriwal engaged in a frenetic campaign. Taking time off from his hectic electioneering to speak to The Hindu, he said AAP will halt BJP’s victory march in Delhi.

What is the difference between the 2013 election and now?

Last time we were a new party and needed people to know that there is an Aam Aadmi Party. We needed to create awareness and tell people that we were in the fray. This time people know we are in the reckoning.

Where do you stand?

Various surveys have shown that we have people’s confidence and we are ahead.  They are talking about our performance during the 49 days of AAP government in Delhi. People are now feeling sick about BJP repeating ad nauseam about resignation of our government. They have put it behind them and are looking forward to our win. 

Last time, nobody accepted that there was an AAP wave and everyone gave us two-to-three seats. We won 28 seats. This time there is a strong undercurrent and people have decided they want AAP back. 

What do you make of the BJP bringing in Kiran Bedi as its chief ministerial candidate?

Last, desperate attempt which has backfired. 

What do you say about Shazia Ilmi and others joining the BJP?

It is unfortunate that some people left, but 30,000 people in Delhi have joined AAP. Our party organisation has expanded and the way people are thronging our meetings, it is huge. In the case of the BJP even their big leaders are not attracting crowds. 

There is some unhappiness over selection of candidates.

Those are planted stories. We have followed the entire procedure in candidates selection. We have not compromised on character, crime and corruption. 

If you win, what will you give to the people of Delhi?

We will work towards freeing people from bribery and price rise. We have a competent team that has created a good plan through Delhi Dialogue. Our priorities are security for women, prices and provision of water electricity, infrastructure, education and health. 

The BJP is not coming out with a manifesto?

Because they do not have an agenda. 

Your issues, such as Lokpal, corruption and blackmoney have been hijacked by the BJP.

Just speaking or writing about these issues is not enough. They have not taken any action. They said they will tackle inflation but they have not taken a single step after winning elections. They said will reduce power charges by 30 per cent. Instead they have raised electricity prices twice by 15 per cent. Now people have started saying that BJP makes huge promises before elections but after winning don’t do anything or do just the opposite. People do not have faith in BJP now and have faith only in AAP because they know we do whatever we say. 

After the Lok Sabha elections the BJP has been winning all Assembly elections...

They have been stumped in Delhi. They have brought in 200 MPs, and all ministers who have stopped all activity to work in Delhi and still people are not coming to their meetings. 

Will AAP government in Delhi get cooperation from BJP-ruled central government?

Earlier there was Congress rule in Delhi and Congress-led UPA at the Centre. Both indulged in corruption. There should never be same party government in Delhi and at the Centre. There should be competition. People are saying one party should not be given control [of the country]. It can actually become dangerous for democracy. 

BJP leaders call you an anarchist.

They have nothing else to say. They have no agenda. We say we will set up new colleges and schools in Delhi, they say Kejriwal is an anarchist; we say we will cover Delhi with CCTV cameras, they say Kejriwal is a naxalite; we say we will provide security for women, they say send Kejriwal to the jungle; we say we enable emergency call service for women on mobile, they say Kejriwal is a monkey [BJP candidate Nupur Sharma said it]. They do politics of mud-slinging, we do of politics of development. The agendas are clear. 

We say we will improve government schools, they say we won’t allow girls to wear jeans; we say we will give connectivity in rural areas, run buses, metro; they say women should bear four children. 

Will you assure people that you will not resort to agitations,  confrontationist politics while in government?

Whenever whatever is needed, will be done. If there is injustice against the people of Delhi whatever is required shall be don to raise a voice. Dharna is provided in Article 19 (1) of the Constitution. Should it be removed? 

But for a Chief Minister to sit on dharna? 

There have been 20 Chief Ministers who have sat on dharnas at various points in time including Narendra Modi when he was the CM of Gujarat. 

The BJP wants the Congress in the reckoning so that they get an advantage?

The BJP does not want Congress to win. It only wants it to nibble our vote share. 

If there is a fractured mandate with which party will you ally?

It will not be a fractured mandate.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 12:02:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/full-text-of-arvind-kejriwal-interview/article6839716.ece

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