The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal for the first time on Tuesday came out in open about why his party had hesitated to give tickets to its MLAs earlier and what prompted the reversal.
Kejriwal was addressing AAP supporters across the globe via Google Hangout when he was posed a question about why he went back on earlier announcement about no Lok Sabha tickets to its MLAs. Kejriwal himself and former Delhi minister Rakhi Birla are AAP candidates from northwest Delhi and Varanasi respectively.
"Earlier there was a danger that if some of our MLAs contested the Lok Sabha polls, the number of AAP MLAs might come down and the BJP might form the government. But we found out, BJP itself fielded four MLAs (for Lok Sabha) and no longer interested in forming the government, so we too changed," Kejriwal answered.
Shalini Gupta, AAP's organisation development advisor, moderated the Google Hangout session lasting for an hour starting 8 am IST. Kejriwal spoke for about 10 minutes explaining the circumstances in which the AAP government resigned (on February 14) and its plans to take on the Congress and BJP to save the country from "two big monsters" of corruption – UPA and NDA.
After this Gupta made an announcement about donations received and appealed for more donations. Then Kejriwal answered a volley of questions, some in brief, some elaborately. But, the former Delhi chief minister evaded a direct reply to two straight questions.
To a question from Raseem Rehman from Pune: "Will you resign as MP from Varanasi or it will be another chief minister for Delhi?" he just said: "Right now saving the country is more important. I am going to Varanasi to defeat (BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra) Modi.
Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP leaders wave at supporters during his election campaign road show in Varanasi ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)
Try to imagine a scenario where both Modi and (Congress vice president Rahul) Gandhi are defeated. There will be a tectonic shift in Indian politics."
Second, to a question from Sidharth Kulkarni from France: "What is AAP's plan for organization structure so that its ideology reaches beyond Arvind Kejriwal?", the AAP leader admitted lack of organisation structure and also the shortage of time but promised, "We will devote lot of time building the organization structure and we will do that after the election."
For a question, "If you become the PM, how will you assure you will not resign?", the AAP leader said, "It is a matter of principles. We can't compromise on corruption. We won't continue in power just for it. Remember Lal Bahadur Shashtri (former prime minister of India), who resigned owing to moral responsibility of train accident. Resigning is not running away. Let's redefine 'resign'."
He also answered questions about how it was only AAP that raised a voice against Congress corruption vis-à-vis Robert Vadra's land scams and how BJP and Congress are hand in glove, to AAP's stand on reservation – "we want reservation but a family should get it only once" – from formula for selection of AAP candidates, to manifesto and AAP's economic policies; from Aaj Tak interview controversy, including bashing a "section of media" to if globalisation is good or bad.
The session ended with Gupta again reminding people not to forget donation.
There were some 20000 participants in the hangout, there were some 10000 questions and AAP answered some 25 representative questions.