Supreme Court advocate Ajay Agarwal, better known for his public interest litigation battles, is now the surprise BJP candidate against Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Rae Bareli.
Dubbed a party hopper, Agarwal joined the SP ahead of the UP assembly elections in 2012 and went over to the BJP just before the Lok Sabha polls were announced.
Excerpts from an interview:
An election battle is vastly different from fighting a case in court. Why have you offered yourself as a sacrificial lamb?
My fight is against corruption. You can call me an advocate against corruption. I have told my party (BJP) to use me as a crusader. After all, I was the one who fought Mayawati in the Taj Corridor scam in 2003. Again, I’m the one who fought the Bofors scam and focused attention on Sonia Gandhi’s links with Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi.
You sound like an AAP candidate. Fighting corruption is Arvind Kejriwal’s main slogan. So why BJP and not AAP?
Kejriwal’s agenda is only publicity. He became Delhi’s chief minister but instead of delivering, he ran away. He’s just a publicity-crazy person. You are a rank outsider in a constituency that is a bastion of the Gandhis. I’ve spent the past six months in Rae Bareli and the feedback to the BJP also was that I should be given the ticket. Do you know there are hundreds of Rae Bareli families whose sons are employed in Gujarat. Through them, others get first-hand knowledge of Gujarat’s development model and now want to see Narendra Modi as PM.
You are referred to as a party hopper. You joined the Samajwadi Party just before the assembly elections in 2012 and recently joined the BJP. Why should voters take you seriously?
I belong to UP. I contributed to the SP’s win but the Yadavs haven’t been able to deliver and are disconnected from the common man. I was also disappointed with their handling of the Muzaffarnagar riots.
Do you really think you stand a chance against Sonia Gandhi?
There was a time when the people of Rae Bareli were scared of voting against a Gandhi because she was like the super prime minister for the past 10 years. But now they are looking towards Modi.