On a day the Aam Aadmi Party announced its first list of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections, senior Congress leaders on Sunday said while the people of Delhi had realised the “folly” of electing an AAP government, the Congress would not repeat the mistake of taking Arvind Kejriwal or his party lightly in the general elections.
Senior BJP leader Harsh Vardhan declined comment on AAP’s list. State unit chief Vijay Goel said both Jarnail Singh and Ashutosh posed no threat to the party.
Jarnail Singh will contest against Mahabal Mishra from the Delhi (West) seat. “We are not going to take the party lightly. They have proved they are not lightweights,” Mishra said.
According to him, the challenge for the Congress would be to regain ground the party lost to the AAP in areas, which are considered traditional strongholds of the Congress. “The AAP has managed to strike a chord with a large number of uneducated voters. These people, who constitute a large portion of Delhi’s electorate, believe the AAP will change politics in Delhi. But those who are educated have got a taste of AAP’s governance… they are not going to vote for it again,” he said.
Criticising the candidature of Singh, Mishra said while the AAP, on one hand, claimed it believed in non-violence, the choice of Singh had exposed its duplicity. “With the AAP, you will never have any clarity. They say one thing and do something else. They are supposed to be a party that believes in non-violence, but that doesn’t seem to be the case,” he said.
According to senior BJP leaders, the party has prepared a list of probable candidates to take on AAP’s candidates.
“We have Vijender Gupta and Sudhanshu Mittal, who may fight from Chandni Chowk and West Delhi seats respectively. We have candidates like Akali’s Manjit Singh GK, Jagdish Mukhi and 1974-batch former IFS officer Hardeep Singh Puri,” a senior leader said.