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HindustanTimes Tue,02 Sep 2014

LS polls: Delhi’s opinion won’t be sought on Varanasi

Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 19, 2014
First Published: 01:18 IST(19/3/2014) | Last Updated: 01:22 IST(19/3/2014)

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal may have said that he will ‘ask the people of Varanasi’ whether or not he should contest against Narendra Modi, but a question that has been doing the rounds is whether the former chief minister will seek the opinion of Delhiites on the matter.

Social media, especially Twitter, has seen a number of people asking a similar question.

AAP sources, however, said that Kejriwal and AAP will not ask Delhi about the matter, but ‘tell’ its people why the step was necessary.

After a spectacular debut in the Delhi assembly polls in which the party won 28 seats, the AAP was invited to form a government. The party had then conducted a referendum at the ward level to seek people’s opinion on the move.

The government had later resigned on February 14 over its failure to introduce the Jan Lokpal Bill as it had promised in the manifesto.

Kejriwal has already talked of a similar referendum wherein he will “ask the people of Varanasi” during his rally next week and announce his candidature against Modi.

The AAP rally in Varanasi, which was earlier scheduled on March 23, will now be held on March 25. “The rally will take place after the last date of filing of nominations in Delhi. After this rally and till the last day of campaigning, Kejriwal will remain in Delhi,” said a party leader.

Sources said that the party had toyed with the idea of a conducting a referendum for Delhiites before the Varanasi rally but the idea was ruled out for the “for want of time”.

“During the campaign in Delhi, Arvind will focus on telling Delhi voters how and why it is important to take on Modi with a strong candidate unlike other parties which either mostly field weak candidates,” sources said, adding, “We will convince Delhiites that we are here for good and not abandoning the city.”

Kejriwal has been maintaining for quite some time that “communalism is a bigger threat than corruption” in an apparent reference to Modi and his alleged involvement in the post-Godhra riots in Gujarat in 2002.

When asked about Kejriwal’s move to Varanasi, its national secretary Pankaj Gupta refused to reveal anything. “Nothing has been finalised as yet” was all he said.


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