AAP not eyeing 2019 polls, will win Punjab: Kejriwal
New Delhi: The AAP has not set its eyes on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections but is confident of taking power in Punjab in 2017, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriewal said on Monday. Addressing the AAP National Council meeting here, Kejriwal also made it clear that he remained opposed to RJD leader Lalu Prasad's corrupt past and dynasty politics despite hugging him in Patna.
Nine months after he led the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to a sweeping victory in Delhi, Kejriwal said the growth of the country's youngest political party was "a miracle in itself". "We are not here for power politics," the AAP leader told the delegates at a close door gathering. "People ask '2019 ki race mein ho kya?'," he said, referring to the next Lok Sabha battle.
"'Hum kisi race mein nahin hain. Dilli ki jeet karishma hai' (We are not in any race. The victory in Delhi is a miracle.) "We just have to keep working hard and honestly. Don't run after elections." But he quickly added that Punjab, which elected the AAP's all four Lok Sabha members in 2014 and where assembly elections are due in two years, would be an exception.
"All indications are that you (are) going to get the same opportunity in Punjab (as in Delhi)," he said. Kejriwal also sought to clear the air over the criticism he faced for hugging Lalu Prasad at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's swearing in at Patna on November 20.
He said Lalu Prasad was on the stage. "He shook hands, pulled me towards him and hugged me. And held my hand and raised it. This was projected (widely) and questions were asked. "We have not formed an alliance (with RJD). We are against his (Lalu Prasad's) record of corruption and will always oppose it. We are against his dynasty politics. "His two sons are ministers. We are against that too."
Kejriwal added: "I am happy that questions are being asked because people have hope (in AAP), because they think we are different. "Nobdoy asks (these) questions when other leaders hug Laluji. This is good for us." The AAP leader defended his support to Nitish Kumar.
"Nitish is a good person. People have told us that Nitish has done good work. We worked against the BJP there and supported him." An income tax commissioner-turned-activist-turned-politician, Kejriwal said four years back he and his colleagues had never thought of even contesting elections. "This three-year journey is a miracle in itself. It was beyond us. If we think we are doing it, we are wrong. It's a divine scheme."
He said battling corruption by bringing in a Jan Lokpal and ushering in Swaraj were the AAP's aims. He said in the last 10 months, the AAP had bettered the performance of the erstwhile Shiela Dikshit government. He also took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he had the entire nation at his disposal but even he did not do what the AAP had done in Delhi.
"Let's talk about corruption first," he said, adding there had never been an instance when a government sacked its own minister found involved in corruption.
"We see how governments keep brushing corruption cases under the carpet, specially against their own ministers. "But in case of our government, nobody knew about it. Someone had sent a clip on WhatsApp. We saw it and felt the minister was involved. "We analyzed it and summoned the minister and confronted him. He confessed and we sacked him in an hour," he said, referring to the ousted minister Asim Ahmed Khan.