ADDRESSING the first ever meeting of elected representatives of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) from across the country, national convenor Arvind Kejriwal Sunday invoked God frequently, as he claimed that “God had sent AAP to save the country from evils”.
While attacking the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kejriwal said: “Like Lord Krishna was sent to end evil, God has sent AAP to end corruption, inflation, unemployment, and to save the Constitution and the country from evils.”
In a show of strength ahead of the coming Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections, where AAP hopes to make its presence felt, the party gathered around 1,500 elected representatives at the Capital’s Indira Gandhi Stadium from across 20 different states.
“Ten years ago, when the Aam Aadmi Party was formed, I never thought there would be so many representatives that the Indira Gandhi Stadium would fill up… Lord Krishna was born to end evil… Kanha ne rakshas ka vadh kiya… Waise hi bhagwan ne AAP banaya hai (Krishna killed the demon. The same way, God has created AAP),” he said, saying the party now has “1,446 representatives in 20 states and Union territories… MLAs, MPs, zila panchayat members, etc”.
He said the Congress and BJP had destroyed the country in the 60 years since the Constitution was adopted on November 25, 1949. “Later, God had to come and intervene, and in 2012, AAP was formed to save the government and the country… This is not some coincidence… God has given us the responsibility and each one of you has to live up to that and work for development.”
Kejriwal asked those present to work on the sectors he listed to “make India Number 1” — education, health, employment, equal opportunity to women and girls, and world-class infrastructure and facilities for farmers. “Seventy-five years ago, everyone came together and kicked Britishers out… Now, we all have to come together to make our country number 1,” he said.
Speaking about the party’s growth in other states and the coming Assembly elections in Gujarat, Kejriwal said AAP was “planting seeds” across the nation and these will grow into “strong trees like in Delhi and Punjab”. He referred to the 27 seats won by AAP in the Surat Municipal Corporation a year and a half ago.
Kejriwal said that it was because other parties had failed that people were voting for AAP. “Agar doosri party wale mehngayi kam karte, to humein log laat maar ke bhaga dete (If people in other parties had managed to fight inflation, people would have chased us away).”
The Delhi Chief Minister said the BJP could not bear AAP “because of its honest politics and honesty” and because of its “education, healthcare facilities and schemes, and freebies, which AAP has introduced in the country’s politics”. “They can neither digest free ki revdi nor can they throw it out. These people say that giving freebies will cause a huge loss to the government… Gujarat has a debt of 3.5 lakh crore. The Gujarat government never gave anything for free, then why do they have so much debt?” he said.
Raising AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan’s arrest by the Anti-Corruption Bureau, Kejriwal accused the BJP of launching ‘Phase-II of Operation Lotus’. “Many of our MLAs have again started receiving calls from the BJP with offers of Rs 25 crore. They are being threatened that if you do not join the BJP, you will also face arrest like Amanatullah Khan.”
AAP MLAs and leaders were also “freedom fighters”, he said. “They are fighting the Opposition, rejecting offers of Rs 25-25 crores, facing the CBI-ED, it is not a small thing.” He exhorted the leaders present to be ready to go to jail if needed, while questioning the cases against Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, who was also present on the stage.
“They raided his house, bank locker and questioned his villagers… They found nothing but a jhunjhuna that he bought for his son when he was a child… Now they are going after Kailash Gahlot (the Delhi Transport Minister).”
Directly targeting Modi, Kejriwal said: “They are buying MLAs and then they stand on the ramparts of the Red Fort and say, ‘I am fighting against corruption’.”
In his speech, Sisodia too attacked the BJP and Congress. “When AAP was formed in 2012, they used to call us ‘4 aadmi party’… Today we have formed two governments, have 10 MPs and 1,500 elected representatives,” he said.
Sisodia added that the Congress had reaped the fruits of the seeds sown by Bhagat Singh and Mahatma Gandhi during the Independence struggle, and “the crop that Modiji has harvested to become PM was planted by the Sangh”.
Kejriwal also alleged that Hiren Joshi, “media advisor” to PM Modi, has warned owners and editors of TV channels that “there is no need to show the Aam Aadmi Party” and threatened them with consequences if they “show Kejriwal”. Joshi is the OSD, Communications and IT, in the PMO. The Indian Express sent a message to an official in the PMO for a response but no comment was received.
At a press conference called soon after Kejriwal’s speech, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra slammed Kejriwal, calling him a megalomaniac.
“Whenever there is an election, he says everyone is intimidated by AAP, and every survey is showing the party winning elections. In Himachal, he had the same refrain, and now the whole party has disintegrated. In Uttarakhand, their president has left. I am surprised that he has not yet said that (US President) Joe Biden fears him,” he said.
“After forming a government, in just two years he thinks he has become God, that too, Krishna. One who steals in excise tax and takes cuts in liquor is comparing himself to makhan chor (Lord Krishna),” Patra said.