Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said that he intended to contest the Lok Sabha election from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh “to save the people and the country from [BJP’s prime ministerial candidate] Narendra Modi.”
Speaking to The Hindu here, Mr. Kejriwal said the Varanasi election this time would have nothing to do with development.
“It will decide the politics of the country,” he said. “The important thing is to do the right thing at the right time. I am not going there to become an MP. My victory is not as important as Mr. Modi’s defeat. Likewise, AAP leader Kumar Vishwas has not gone to become the Amethi MP, but to defeat Rahul Gandhi because both Mr. Modi and Mr. Gandhi represent the same kind of politics.”
Last week, Mr. Kejriwal declared in Bangalore that he would contest against Mr. Modi from Varanasi if the people of the city wanted him to. For this, he will hold a rally in Varanasi on March 25.
Asked about Mr. Modi opting to contest from Vadodara as a back-up seat, Mr. Kejriwal said, “It raises the suspicion that for Mr. Modi, it is important to become Prime Minister. He wants to reach 272 seats. For this, he has collected politicians, even tainted ones, to forge an electoral alliance. This is what the United Progressive Alliance is also doing.”
Charging a section of the media with being involved in a “political conspiracy” to make Mr. Modi Prime Minister, he said huge propaganda was unleashed to project Mr. Modi as a development man (Vikas Purush) to remove the taint of the Gujarat carnage. “[But when I went there] I saw there was no development. This was perhaps the biggest political conspiracy hatched in post-Independent India.”
After having travelled through Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka, Mr. Kejriwal felt that people were angry with mainstream parties and were looking for a change in the political system. “AAP can be that change. It is basically an expression of people’s anger against the current corrupt system of politics.”
Having fielded 287 candidates so far, the AAP leader is hopeful of winning 100 seats, but on whether the party would back any alliance for formation of government, he said, “We favour honest politics and will do whatever it takes.”
On whether the Muslims were backing the party in a big way, Mr. Kejriwal said, “Why Muslims alone, even Hindus, Sikhs and Christians are coming in large numbers because when we talk about honesty and integrity, it finds an echo in every heart.”