Delhi: A combative and confident Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, in an exclusive interview to Zee Media, said on Wednesday that the people of Delhi were behind him and his party was winning the upcoming Assembly elections.
Talking about the fact that he had quit the Delhi CM's chair because he had ambitions of becoming the prime minister of India, Kejriwal said, “It was BJP's propaganda that I left the CM's chair because I wanted to be PM. If I wanted to be PM, I could have fought from a safe seat. I wouldn't have gone to Varanasi. The allegation were baseless.”
On reasons as to why AAP left the government in Delhi on 14 February, 2014 after 49 days in office he said, “We quit because it was difficult to govern. We thought that there would be an election soon and then we would get the majority. We didn't know that polls would not be held for a year.”
However, he did accept that they should have sought people's opinion before leaving power. “We should have asked the people before quitting.”
Kejriwal revealed that he was never keen to fight the 2014 General Elections but was forced to do so because his party wanted him to.
“I personally did not want to fight the Lok Sabha polls. I wanted to concentrate on Delhi. We wanted to make Delhi a model state. But the party was not agreeable to this. They wanted to fight all the Lok Sabha seats. I feel that it was one of our biggest mistakes. We did not have manpower and other infrastructure to fight the polls.”
When asked questions on the allegations of four cheques of Rs 50 lakh each that his party received from fictitious companies, Kejriwal maintained that neither he nor his party were not involved in any wrongdoing.
He kept saying that it was difficult to check the source behind party's funds. “I want to say that muck is being thrown at us. This is not right politics. I have been called a Naxal, anarchists and what not.”
On being said that the funding row was more of an ethical issue, Kejriwal said in a defiant tone, “If I have done any wrong then the government can arrest me. Why aren’t they arresting me.”
“It is the work of income tax and ED department to check illegal money transactions,” he said, adding, “We have taken the money by cheque. We cannot do more than that. We cannot check every address or how the person has earned the money.”
He added that he would not accept any donations from industrialists like Mukesh Ambani (Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Ltd), saying, "I will never take money from someone like Mukesh Ambani, not even a cheque from him.”
The AAP chief also said that the trial cannot be held by media. He also quipped that the media had written AAP off after the Lok Sabha polls.
Taking on the BJP, he said that it feared losing the Delhi polls and that was the reason why AAP was being framed.
And on Kiran Bedi - the BJP's CM candidate for Delhi polls, Kejriwal said, “I have worked with Kiran Bedi for three years and now she is levelling allegations against me. I feel sad. I dare her to look me in the eye and say if I have done any wrong.”
But he refused to answer as to whether his fight was with Bedi or PM Narendra Modi, categorically saying that his fight was against corruption and price-rise and not against any person.
When quizzed as to why he was not attacking Congress, Sonia Gandhi and others even though the grand old party had been in power in Delhi for 15 years, AAP chief said that he has been continuously taking on the Congress and had also exposed Robert Vadra.
Kejriwal also refuted that he was somebody who sits on dharna every now and then.
On being asked why he is accused of taking many U-turns, he said it was not the case. “I never said that I will not take a house as CM but had said that I will not take a big house.”
“I had said that I did not need security, but I was given forcefully,” he added.
On the chaos that had ensued during Janata Darbar AAP chief said that the crowd had become unmanageable and that is why no more darbars were held.
As for travelling business class, he said that he had never said that he would not travel business class.
If voted to power, Kejriwal said that he will fulfil all the promises made to the people. “The government has a lot of money. I am not taking their money home. The people's money will be spent on them only,” and added, “My budget today is Rs 40,000 crore. Some work needs to be done today. Some will take time. People have told us that they will give us land to open 20 colleges that AAP has promised. We will reduce VAT rate in Delhi and it will be lowest in the country.”
On a lighter note he said that he had tried all treatments, but still couldn't rid of his cough.
The muffler that he wraps around his head and his continuous cough have been the trademarks of AAP chief ever since he joined politics.
The Assembly elections in Delhi is due on February 7, and the counting of votes will be done on February 10.