The Aam Aadmi Party has added the names of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi to its list of “corrupt” politicians against whom it would field candidates. The party had named 28 in that list on Friday, including Rahul Gandhi, Nitin Gadkari and Mayawati, provoking questions as to why it had kept out Modi’s name.
Gopal Rai, a member of AAP’s Political Affairs Committee, said Sonia and Modi were “leaders of political parties that symbolise corruption”. “Their names were suggested by party workers after Arvind Kejriwal’s speech on Friday morning. We will put up strong candidates against all the people on the list, and we will continue to add names,” he said.
Rai added that apart from “corrupt” politicians, they would continue to field candidates against politicians facing criminal cases, and those who represent dynasty politics. “It is these three ills that the party will look to fight in the Lok Sabha elections,” said Rai.
The party is planning a “volunteer drive” from February 5 to recruit five lakh volunteers before the Lok Sabha elections, apart from a countrywide ‘Jhadu Yatra’ starting February 15. “If the other parties have Rs 500 crore budgets, we will combat them on the basis of our volunteer strength, like we did in Delhi,” said Rai.
Senior AAP leader Yogendra Yadav clarified the party’s stance on khap panchayats and said it drew the line “where coercion began”. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s comment that these could not be banned had drawn flak. “His stand and that of the party is identical,” said Yadav. “It is to say that khap panchayats are like social organisations which exist in every society of this country which seek to resolve disputes amicably. These exist as not all problems can be taken to courts. Therefore, if there is consent on the decision from all parties involved, it is fine. However, the Aam Aadmi Party does not and will never accept coercion, breaking the law and murder. We believe in the Constitution and the right to freedom, equality, including gender equality.”
Questioned about the party’s stance on Telangana, Yadav said they were “in principle for smaller states”.
“However, we insist that the unique character of Hyderabad be kept, and that an amicable solution for all people be found.”