Delhi elections: Desperate Arvind Kejriwal fights deserter tag
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal is holding twice as many public meetings as he did for the 2013 assembly elections trying to shake off the millstone of his quitting power in just 49 days.delhi Updated: Jan 27, 2015 10:40 IST
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal is holding twice as many public meetings as he did for the 2013 assembly elections trying to shake off the millstone of his quitting power in just 49 days.
This time he is holding about 120 public meetings across constituencies, telling the voters that he will not quit again if voted to power. He has addressed 95 jan sabhas and 25 more are lined up before campaigning ends. He is also trying to match BJP’s firepower. For the last elections, he held only 50-odd roadshows.
Every day, Kejriwal is holding two-three meetings and also tendering an apology. But have people accepted it? “Yes. This is what our political and public opinion feedback tells us. Our resignation may have been an error of judgment, but it was not at all a moral flaw. We never compromised on our integrity,” AAP’s chief spokesperson Yogendra Yadav told HT.
Kejriwal started campaigning in December after the Centre dissolved the Delhi assembly paving the way for fresh elections. The names of Kiran Bedi (BJP) and Ajay Maken (Congress) who are leading the sprint for Delhi’s top job were announced only in January.
The party says Kejriwal is holding more meetings this time because the demand from constituency volunteers has gone up. On an average 5,000 people turn up for each such meeting.
Surprisingly, Kejriwal is not holding even a single public meeting in his own constituency New Delhi. IIT alumnus and his campaign manger Gopal Mohan said, “There is not much challenge in New Delhi. BJP’s Nupur Sharma and Congress’ Kiran Walia have little idea about the constituency. Our victory margin will set a new record.”
Mohan also offers other reasons. A large number of government employees live in New Delhi. They cannot be seen to be attending political meetings for obvious reasons. In his constituency, Kejriwal mostly does padyatras. He relies on people-to-people contact,” he said.
In 2013, the AAP leader had defeated three-time chief minister and Congress veteran Sheila Dikshit from New Delhi by a margin of more than 25,000 votes. He has spent his annual development fund of `4 crore, earmarking it for more than a dozen projects including toilets, badminton courts, CCTVs and gyms.
AAP is confident of good results citywide, too. “No doubt our resignation disappointed people. This did affect us in the Lok Sabha elections. They have punished us once, they will not punish us twice for that one mistake,” Yadav said.