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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Kejriwal still undecided about contesting LS polls, but upbeat about AAP's future

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 16, 2014
First Published: 03:11 IST(16/2/2014) | Last Updated: 03:13 IST(16/2/2014)

A day after resigning from the Delhi chief minister's post, Arvind Kejriwal said he was still undecided about contesting the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, but called for rooting out corruption and communalism from the country.

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In an interview with two TV channels, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader reiterated his party would field candidates against corrupt politicians and defended the 49-day-long Delhi government's actions, including the stir after ex-law minister Somnath Bharti's alleged raid in south Delhi and the attempt to table the jan lokpal bill in the assembly without the lieutenant governor's approval.

"I did not resign to contest (the Lok Sabha) elections…I don't want to become the CM or the PM… The most important thing is the fight against corruption," Kejriwal told CNN-IBN, even as the AAP announced it would fight the upcoming general elections under his leadership.

Kejriwal had earlier ruled out fighting the Lok Sabha elections. However, he had later said he might reconsider the decision if the party wanted.

Talking to NDTV, he added corruption, dynasty politics and communalism were the biggest threats the country was facing.

In the line of fire for stepping down after failing to introduce his party's showpiece jan lokpal bill in the Delhi assembly, Kejriwal said, "I wasn't in a hurry to resign. It was a message to the voters that we wanted to keep the corrupt out."

Kejriwal pointed out the AAP government had given people the hope and the belief which had been missing in the country. "If a country stops dreaming, it cannot proceed," he said, when asked by CNN-IBN if he was a "merchant of dreams".
 
The former Delhi CM added his government in the Capital had achieved a lot in its short stint, asserting corrupt bureaucrats were now reeling under the fear of being penalised.

Confident of his barely-17-month-old party's political future, Kejriwal said the AAP's popularity among the middle-class had increased. "We will get 50 seats (of the 70) in Delhi whenever the (assembly) elections are held."

He also defended Bharti and the subsequent AAP campaign after the police allegedly did not carry out a raid on a suspected drug and sex racket in a south Delhi locality on the former law minister's order.

Accusing the media of acting against the AAP government, Kejriwal said his protest against the Union home ministry, under which the Delhi Police function, had good intentions and people congratulated him for taking up the issue of women's security.

Kejriwal assured that his mentor and anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare was happy with him. Training guns on corruption, he claimed, "Contrary to what is being said, the Delhi government has enough money to do good work. But the goodwill is missing."

Kejriwal also told CNN-IBN that nowhere in the Constitution it was written that the jan lokpal bill would need the Centre's or the lieutenant governor's assent before being tabled in the assembly. "I can give my life for the Constitution."


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