‘AAP will sweep the elections’
Arvind Kejriwal is now one of Delhi’s best-known personalities. The upcoming Assembly election will be a testing ground for the activist-turned-politician, now national convener of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The task ahead of this inexperienced politician is daunting and there is palpable tension in the AAP ranks. In the midst of hectic electioneering and campaigns like the ‘Jhadu Chalao Yatra’ and Jan Sabhas across the Capital, Kejriwal found time to speak to ABHIJEET ANAND. He spoke on party funding, the Lok Pal Bill and the party manifesto, among other things. Excerpts:
How do you look at the Aam Aadmi Party&’s prospects in the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections?
See, the people of Delhi are fed up of BJP and Congress. They have seen both the parties. BJP has been in power in MCD for the last seven years. Congress has been in power for the last 15 years. And it’s been complete corruption everywhere… People always wanted a change. But they did not have a choice till now. Every time they had to defeat one party rather than vote in favour of any party. This time, they have an honest credible option. So people would want to vote for AAP.
What is your election plank? And what would be your top three manifesto pledges for the people of the Capital?
Most important is anti-corruption, then price rise, women’s safety, electricity, water, good quality education for all, good quality health services for all. There are many things… regularisation of unauthorised colonies, providing basic facilities there. Right now, the manifesto is being drafted for Delhi.
In the event of a hung Assembly as expected, if government formation is not possible without AAP joining hands with either Congress or BJP, which of the two will you choose?
Now I think… this is a hypothetical question. Because there is a very strong wave in favour of Aam Aadmi Party. It is not going to win, it is going to sweep the elections.
This is the first time Delhi is witnessing a triangular electoral battle. Opinions are divided on whether your party will play a vote spoiler for the BJP or Congress.
We are actually spoiling votes of both the parties.
Between spearheading an anti-corruption civil society movement two years ago to becoming a political leader now, which role do you prefer and why?
I think both the things have their own importance, but now there was no option left. We did whatever we could do in terms of a civil society movement in the last two years, but when there was no option left, we were forced to jump into politics. We had no intention of entering politics.
What is your take on Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi? Do you think they are fit to becoming prime minister of India?
I would not like to comment on any individual. It is for the people of the country to decide.
Transparency in political funding is a serious issue. Is AAP maintaining transparency?
Transparency of funding is extremely important and AAP has taken a lead in this. AAP has set an example in the
country. Each and every donor&’s name—even if we get Rs 10 from him/her—is on the website. BJP got Rs 800 crore in the last five years and Congress got Rs 2000 crore. But they refuse to tell us the names of their donors.
How will you ensure that your own candidates are honest about declaring their actual poll expenditures?
Right now, the people whom we are giving tickets, we are investigating their records.. We are ensuring three things. That all our candidates are honest, they are of good character and they do not have any criminal case pending in any court. We are announcing that if anyone gives evidence to the contrary, we will cancel the ticket of that person. We have done this for two candidates.
We will pass the Lok Pal Bill on 29 December. If any one turns corrupt after, then he will go to jail.
Who are the two candidates whose candidature has been cancelled?
One is from Shahdara and the other person I do not want to name because when he saw the evidence, he himself resigned after admitting his fault and pleaded with us not to disclose his name.
Is the party missing the presence of Anna Hazare?
Yes, we really miss him. And if Anna were there, it would have been completely different…the energy would have been 100 times more. It is unfortunate that he is not there.