‘Pact with Congress would be same as allying with BJP’: Arvind Kejriwal
The Congress had offered to contest three of Delhi’s seven Lok Sabha seats, leaving four to the AAP, which wanted the alliance extended to Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh as well .Updated: May 11, 2019 17:12 IST
Two days before the national capital votes in the Lok Sabha elections, Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal said on Friday that after an initial twinge of regret about an alliance between AAP and the Congress not working out, he now feels it is better off without a seat-sharing deal in the city.
The Congress had offered to contest three of Delhi’s seven Lok Sabha seats, leaving four to the AAP, which wanted the alliance extended to Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh as well .
More than two months of on-again, off-again negotiations between the two parties ended in failure, turning the electoral battle in Delhi into a triangular contest between the AAP, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which won all seven seats in 2014.
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In an interview with Hindustan Times, Kejriwal said that with the Congress not standing a chance of winning a single seat in the Capital, an alliance would have been like giving “three seats to the BJP.”
“It would have amounted to having an alliance between the AAP and the BJP rather than the AAP and the Congress. The second option was to contest all seven seats and try to win them all. Now, it looks like the second option is better,” he said.
The alliance was meant to be a one-off tie-up aimed at defeating the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections, said Kejriwal.
He adding that it would have had no bearing on the Delhi assembly polls, which are just nine months away.
“The AAP came into existence raising the issue of the Congress indulging in corruption. It was this one time we needed to come together... to defeat the ModiShah partnership,” he said, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. TargetingPrimeMinister Modi, Kejriwal said the PM had no achievements to show and was seeking votes on “fake nationalism, which is dangerous for the country”.
“I hope people see (through) this. They should go beyond the illusion,” he said.
Kejriwal added that his support to the party forming the government at the Centre will be on the condition that it agrees to full statehood for Delhi, which is the AAP’s central poll plank.
“Other than Modi-Shah, whoever forms the government at the Centre, if they need the AAP’s support, then our condition will be that of full statehood to Delhi,” he said.
On the issue of sealing commercial units for non-compliance with building norms in a Supreme Court- ordered drive, Kejriwal blamed the Delhi Development Authority, which reports to the Union ministry of housing and urban affairs. “Traders were not indulging in smuggling or theft. These are all technical defaults. Why should Delhi’s traders face the brunt of DDA’s mistakes,” he asked.
He agreed that fighting air pollution, which is now a health emergency, cannot be conditional to Delhi getting full statehood. He also admitted that sprucing up public transport, an important measure to improve the air quality of the city, was taking “more time than what had been anticipated”. “It cannot happen in two days. There were so many obstacles that were raised in our projects. But this year a lot of new buses will start rolling out on Delhi’s roads,” he said.
The CM said he was hopeful that in the next three years, the Delhi government will be able to show “some real tangible control over pollution”.
The constant inflow of people into the national capital, Kejriwal said, was a big challenge for the Delhi government. “In such a situation, how do I plan for the people who are living in Delhi? For how many people do I plan?”
Asked about his government’s tumultuous relations with the city’s bureaucrats, Kejriwal said he was not “here to make any relationship with an MLA or bureaucrat”.
“Everyone has a job and they should do it,” he said.