TT Epaper
The Telegraph
Graphiti
 
CIMA Gallary

Kejriwal election dare to BJP

New Delhi, Aug. 3: Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party today asked lieutenant-governor Najeeb Jung to dissolve the Delhi Assembly for fresh elections and dared the BJP to show the “guts” to face voters again.

His confidence brimming, the AAP leader said his party would win at least 40 of the 70 seats in the House if elections were held now.

Any delay would further dent the BJP’s prospects as people were frustrated with the rise in prices of vegetables, inflated electricity bills and corruption, he told a rally attended by thousands on a sultry afternoon.

The rally presented a picture of unity at a time the AAP has been looking increasingly like a house divided amid reports of differences between its two main leaders, Kejriwal and Yogendra Yadav. Widely considered the party’s ideologue, Yadav was present at the rally at Jantar Mantar.

Kejriwal said the BJP and the Congress were scared of fresh polls but focused his attack on the country’s new rulers. “The BJP’s internal survey has predicted that it will lose badly,” the former chief minister said.

The AAP chief accused the BJP-led Centre of controlling the actions of the lieutenant-governor, who is yet to decide on whether to call fresh elections. “I remember in April 2011, when we were holding a rally here at Jantar Mantar with Anna Hazareji to fight corruption, all these political parties were asking us to fight elections. Today we are challenging these parties, BJP and Congress, that if you have guts, then hold elections in Delhi,” Kejriwal said.

In the December Assembly elections, the BJP had won 32 seats, the AAP 28 and the Congress eight. The rookie AAP formed the government with Congress support but lasted only 49 days as Kejriwal resigned after the BJP, the Congress and two Independent MLAs opposed the introduction of the Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill. The state has been under President’s rule since then, with Jung managing the day-to-day affairs.

Kejriwal claimed BJP leaders had approached 15 AAP legislators, offering them Rs 20 crore each to support a BJP government, but his MLAs had rebuffed the attempt to break the party. He read out the names of some of those who had been approached and alleged that the BJP had offered money to some Congress legislators too. The BJP has denied the allegations.

Kejriwal said the rise in vegetable prices, particularly tomato which is selling at Rs 80 a kilo now, and inflated electricity bills had piled on the misery of the masses. The Kejriwal government had halved power tariffs for consumers who used up to 400 units a month, but the subsidy has since been withdrawn.

The AAP leader claimed auto drivers, who played a key role in the AAP’s 2013 election campaign, were being slapped with false traffic violation cases, and touched on the UPSC row, echoing protesters who say the new exam format favoured those with English-medium backgrounds.

Kejriwal slammed the Centre’s recent notification that says the Delhi government’s anti-graft branch cannot file cases against any central minister.

Yadav said the BJP was running away from elections.