His political rivals may have organised a multi-crore rally to lure voters in Delhi but Arvind Kejriwal — leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that took shape exactly a year ago on October 2 — is banking on a personal touch with a door-to-door campaign.
Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Admi Party has many supporters, but will they vote for it? (HT Photo)
Claiming that party volunteers had visited 23,600 homes in the New Delhi constituency — from where Kejriwal is planning to take on Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit — the AAP leader said on Tuesday that his party had received donations from 12,000 of these homes.
“There are 30,000 families and 1,12,000 votes in New Delhi constituency. About 6,000-odd are inaccessible as they belong to MPs and bureaucrats. Add to it, those from areas such as Golf Links and Jorbagh. Of the remaining 24,000, our volunteers have already visited 23,600 homes,” Kejriwal said in an interaction with HT editors on Tuesday.
Over 98% people said they would vote for AAP and 12,000 families had donated for AAP’s campaign, he claimed. “These 12,000 families — comprising 55,000 votes — have donated to us, we can assume they are voting for us. Sheila Dikshit got 37,000 votes last time,” said a confident Kejriwal. Dikshit is yet to announce her candidature from New Delhi.
‘Modi not a factor in Delhi’
Commenting on BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s Rohini rally, Kejriwal said: “People in Delhi understand if they vote for BJP, it is not Modi but Vijay Goel who is going to be the chief minister. BJP is banking on the anti-Sheila sentiment. They have no achievement of their own to talk about. In contrast, people who are voting for us are in favour of AAP.”
“We are setting the agenda as far as Delhi politics is concerned. We raise people’s issues, be it water and power bills or women safety. Other parties follow us,” Kejriwal said.
The AAP has collected about `12 crore through donations to date, the Magsaysay awardee said. He said that any donation made through credit/debit card is reflected online within three minutes on the party’s website. Alternatively, donation is also collected during door-to-door campaign and scheduled visits.
“Recently, we went to Lodi Gardens one morning. I met several small groups doing yoga, etc. A word had been sent out earlier so several people had come with cheque books. Others who lived nearby went home and came with donations. We collected roughly Rs. 4 lakh there.”
The political greenhorn claimed that several disgruntled leaders in both the BJP and Congress would support AAP. Expressing confidence that his party would win the Delhi Assembly polls, Kejriwal said the entire “middle-level leadership in the Congress is breaking up”.
However, he rejected allegations that his party has a tacit understanding with BJP’s Harsh Vardhan on the Krishna Nagar seat.
Will he be the CM?
In case AAP is in a position to form a government after elections, will Kejriwal be the chief minister? “That’s for the people to decide. I may be a popular face, but during our meetings we never discuss who will be what minister, or who will be the chief minister.”
Enlisting steps for a corruption-free system — a major poll-plank for AAP — Kejriwal said: Bring Janlokpal as envisaged by Anna Hazare within 15 days of forming a government; complete decentralisation of political power vis-à-vis funds, functions and functionaries, wherein people decide what they want for their constituency and reforming the entire legal and administrative system and ramping up technology.