‘We are defining the politics of Delhi… others are following us’https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/we-are-defining-the-politics-of-delhi-others-are-following-us/

‘We are defining the politics of Delhi… others are following us’

Leading his party in its first outing,Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal takes on a three-time CM and a well-established BJP. He tells Dipankar Ghose ‘lack of experience is both good and bad’

The Congress has alleged that you are on the BJP’s side and are attempting to cut into the Congress vote. BJP leaders allege that you are working for the Congress by cutting into theirs. What is your response to these charges?

We are eating into the votes of both parties. There is no question of working for any party. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is working to give people in Delhi the choice of a corruption-free government. By our estimates,we are cutting into 37 per cent of the Congress vote and 26 per cent of the BJP vote. The BJP,as an opposition party,is only looking for anti-Congress votes. But the AAP vote is a pro-AAP policy vote. The other parties have nothing constructive to add to the discourse.

Narendra Modi’s rally saw crowds of upwards of a lakh. Do you think the support for Modi at the rally will translate into benefits for the Delhi BJP in the Assembly

elections?

The Delhi voter is intelligent and knows that when they vote,they will vote for Vijay Goel and other Delhi BJP leaders as their chief minister and not Modi. The BJP has ruled the municipal corporations for several years. No work (in the corporations) gets done without a bribe. Even god cannot save the Delhi BJP,and Modi is only human.

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As opposed to the cadres of other parties,the AAP workforce is largely made up of young volunteers who have left their jobs and studies for a few months to work with you. What happens when they go back to work after the elections are over?

It is true that activities of the party will have to be toned down after the election when they return to their jobs. They will then work part time for the party. This is not different from how the party cadres of other political outfits work. Their workers too work part time.

By and large,members of the AAP are completely new to politics. Does experience not matter at all in politics?

The lack of experience is both a good and a bad thing. Good,because we have no experience of corruption. We are not here to do politics. But to change politics. We are defining the politics of Delhi by our new methods,and the others are following us. We set the agenda in Delhi. However,the lack of experience is a problem in technical aspects,like booth management. But it is not rocket science. I think we’ll find ways to manage.

Within a year of becoming a political outfit,the AAP is counted as one of the three major players in Delhi.

It is not just one of the three players. We will form the government in Delhi. We will get more than 47 seats.

What happens if the Assembly is hung? The Congress and the BJP won’t ally with each other. Will

the AAP?

There is no question of that happening. If we even think of something like that,we will be cheating the people. They are voting for us because they want to see a change. If the Assembly is hung,we will have to for re-election. And I am confident that the AAP will sweep the re-election.

You speak of changing the way Delhi,and later the country,is administered. But even if you were to form the government,the bureaucracy that you will have to work with has functioned within the same system for 66 years. How would you change that?

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We will decentralise power down to the people. We will bring about a policy on Swaraj within three months,and after that the bureaucracy will have to listen to the public. The people make the decisions and the administration serves them. That is the way it should be.