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AAP game for fresh polls, eyes big win
Ditherers will now back us: Party

next assignment: lok sabha contest

New Delhi, Dec. 9: The Aam Aadmi Party is eyeing a possible re-election in Delhi and says it is confident of a thumping majority if that happens.

Party leaders today said they didn’t want to form the government on the back of a split verdict and first-placed BJP’s avowed reluctance.

According to a CNN-IBN press release, party chief Arvind Kejriwal, asked whether Delhi was headed for a fresh election, said: “The AAP is ready for a re-poll as elections don’t cost much, but corruption leads to a larger loss.”

Party leaders said a re-election was the best scenario for the AAP, which has made a stunning debut with 28 seats, trailing the BJP by just three in a House of 70.

They feel that a significant proportion of the voters wanted to back the AAP but had held back because they were unsure about its ability to form the government.

“Our pre-election surveys showed that 36 per cent people supported us but only 24 per cent felt we could form the government. Given a second chance, all these voters would come to the AAP and give us a clear majority,” a party leader said.

He predicted that a re-election would pulverise the Congress and set up a direct fight between the AAP and the BJP.

Can you spot a Kejriwal, Mr President?
President Pranab Mukherjee poses for a group photo with probationers of the 64th batch of Indian Revenue Service (customs and central excise) at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday. Arvind Kejriwal, whose AAP has made a spectacular debut in the Delhi Assembly elections, was also part of the IRS but he worked for the income-tax department. (PTI picture)

“People who voted for the Congress in this election are not going to waste their votes if there is a re-election. Most of them will vote for the AAP,” the leader said.

However, the AAP also appears at ease with the option of sitting in the Opposition if the BJP manages to form a minority government.

Its appetite whetted by the spectacular show in Delhi, the party wants to contest next year’s general election in a big way. Party leaders feel they can devote more time to the 2014 poll preparations if they don’t have to run a state government.

“We stated right at the beginning that we shall not take or extend support to any of the established political parties,” party leader Yogendra Yadav said.

“We do not have the numeric majority, nor are we the largest single party. I do not know why the onus of government formation is being shifted to us.”

Yadav expressed surprise that the BJP had balked at staking claim on the ground that it was against “horse-trading”. He claimed it was the AAP that had frightened the established parties off poaching.

Ajit Jha, national coordinator of the party, said the AAP already had units in 309 districts spread over 22 states.

“It is natural that we will contest the Lok Sabha elections. How can we not contest the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi after winning 28 seats?” he said.

Party insiders said there had been a discussion about challenging Sonia and Rahul Gandhi with credible AAP candidates in the Lok Sabha elections, just as Kejriwal had fought and defeated Sheila Dikshit in Delhi.

Some party leaders, sources said, were even suggesting that Kejriwal himself take on one of the Gandhis and exploit what they say is an anti-Congress sentiment sweeping the country.

But some party leaders fear that such an “over-ambitious” move could well boomerang.