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Home / Assembly Elections / Delhi Assembly Election 2020: If Kejriwal had gone to Jamia or JNU, BJP would have incited violence and blamed AAP, says Sanjay Singh

Delhi Assembly Election 2020: If Kejriwal had gone to Jamia or JNU, BJP would have incited violence and blamed AAP, says Sanjay Singh

Delhi Assembly Election 2020: Sanjay Singh said I have been in politics for 25 years, and this is the first time I am seeing that people are voting solely on the basis of work. Caste, religion or riots – nothing is working.

assembly-elections Updated: Jan 20, 2020 22:51 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is focusing on development and its governance model in its campaign for the February 8 assembly elections, says Sanjay Singh.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is focusing on development and its governance model in its campaign for the February 8 assembly elections, says Sanjay Singh.(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is focusing on development and its governance model in its campaign for the February 8 assembly elections, says Sanjay Singh, a Rajya Sabha member and the election in-charge for the party in Delhi. But it’s not an easy task in the face of the anti-AAP rhetoric by the rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he says. In an interview to Sweta Goswami, he also talks about the AAP’s prospects, violence in universities, and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA. Edited excerpts:

Now that the BJP and the Congress have announced most of their candidates for the February 8 elections, which constituencies do you think will we have close contests?

Don’t consider this arrogance, but all our internal surveys are suggesting that the AAP is winning hands down. Today, if you do an independent survey in any of the 70 constituencies [in Delhi], eight out of 10 people will take the AAP’s name. When the results will be announced on February 11, the Congress will be seen nowhere, and even the BJP will be a distant second.

I have been in politics for 25 years, and this is the first time I am seeing that people are voting solely on the basis of work. Caste, religion or riots – nothing is working. What is working in this election is Kejriwal’s policy – be it free health care, free education and coaching for students, or free power and water. [chief minister] Arvind Kejriwal treated people like his family and people feel the same now.

The Congress has fielded several heavyweights, including 17 former MLAs and five former ministers. Will this split votes and affect the Aam Aadmi Party’s performance?

The same heavyweights were fielded in 2015 elections. Haroon Yusuf, Mateen Ahmed, AK Walia — all of them had contested back then too. This time the Congress is fighting only to retain its 8% vote share, which is likely to further go down to 5%.

But the 2015 elections were different. There was a wave. In the elections after 2015, the Congress’s vote share has increased. The AAP performance was worse than that of the Congress in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections even in Delhi…

It was only after the result [in 2015] that everyone said there was a Kejriwal wave. That time everyone was critical of the AAP and Kejriwal because we quit the government in 49 days. Humein bhagoda kaha gaya. Chunaav chhod ke bhaag gaye, bola gaya [We were called quitters. It was said we ran away]...Only after the results everyone got to know that there was a wave. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, we lost all seven seats. Then in the 2015 assembly elections, we won 67 of the 70 seats. Voting in the assembly elections happens on governance and on Kejriwal’s name. In the Lok Sabha, it happens on Modi’s name...

AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal has launched a guarantee card “to counter the propaganda of opposition parties” against the AAP’s schemes. Does it mean the AAP feels that people in Delhi have been influenced by the issues raised by rival parties on the city’s water quality, unauthorised colonies, and power and water subsidies?

All this does not dent the AAP’s prospects even by 1%. But if some party is spreading lies that subsidies will be over after March, then isn’t it the duty of a responsible government to tell the truth and dissuade people from panicking? The CM, in fact, did a bold thing by providing a guarantee on the continuity of all schemes launched by the AAP government.

Many of the 15 AAP MLAs, who did not get tickets, have left the party and alleged the Aam Aadmi Party is taking money to give tickets. Similar allegations were made during nominations for the Rajya Sabha members too. Your comments.

It’s the easiest thing to do. Those who are levelling such allegations are those who fought from various constituencies for the AAP [in the past]. That time they did not complain... Levelling such allegations only because they did not get tickets is not good. We feel for these people; we reached out to them as well. But still, some have joined other parties or are fighting independently.

They should now be asked how much money have they paid to get tickets from the parties they have joined.

Your party’s funding details are no longer in the public domain. Any reason?

We have learnt many things from experience. We have learnt the hard way too. We need to see which government is ruling the country today. Under this government [the BJP-ruled Centre], an individual cannot gather the courage to fund a different party. The donor fears he will be trolled or threatened or the Enforcement Directorate would go after him. So, we have to take care of such things. It’s a big thing that today people can’t come out to openly help a different party. This is not healthy. In fact, we are the only party that gives the most detailed election expenditure to the election commission.

Be it CAA or NRC (National Register of Citizens) protests, or violence in Jamia and JNU, why didn’t Arvind Kejriwal meet the protesters?

If we protest, we are called Urban Naxals. And if we don’t, people question our absence. We opposed the bill [CAA] in both Lower and Upper houses of Parliament. Our Okhla constituency legislator, Amanatullah Khan, was targeted during the protests...

If Kejriwal had joined the protests even by mistake, the BJP would have incited big riots and then put all the blame on him. As a CM, Kejriwal sought time from the Union home minister [Amit Shah] to discuss the law and order situation, but till date Shah did not give time. He even spoke to the L-G...

Ever since Amit Shah has become the home minister, lawyers are getting shot, students are getting lathi-charged...220 rounds of firing have happened in one month on Delhi streets, and rape and robbery cases have increased. Law and order is in its worst-ever state in Delhi right now.

Kejriwal has recently demanded having the police under the AAP government’s control. But in this election, the AAP is not talking about full statehood for Delhi as it used to. What is the reason for the party distancing itself from the issue?

It will be mentioned in our manifesto, which will be released in a few days. But it is a more relatable issue during the Lok Sabha elections than during the state election, because achieving it alone is not possible. It cannot happen without the Centre’s will.

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