Chennai, Jan. 15: The Aam Aadmi Party would soon unravel as it had already become power-hungry, Cho Ramaswamy predicted, sporting a Nehru cap and joking that he could write “Amma Aadmi Party” on it since he was a Jayalalithaa supporter.
The political commentator and editor of Tamil weekly Thuglak was speaking at the 44th anniversary of the magazine on Tuesday.
Arvind Kejriwal had said he had a 360-page chargesheet on corruption ready against Sheila Dikshit and had promised action within a week of getting elected, Cho said.
“But when BJP’s Harshvardhan questioned where was the action, Kejriwal wanted Harshvardhan to provide proof. What, he wants the BJP to provide Page No. 361?” he asked, amid laughter.
“This only proves that the AAP will not do anything to annoy the Congress since it has tasted power and wants to retain it at all costs,” argued Cho, one of the earliest proponents of “Narendra Modi for PM”.
Eager listeners had started queuing up from 3pm to grab a seat at the Music Academy auditorium to hear Cho’s no-holds-barred take on current politics. Those who couldn’t find a place crowded into a nearby mini-hall or squatted in the car park, watching the proceedings on giant screens.
Since the launch of Thuglak on January 14, 1970, Cho holds the anniversary meeting every Pongal day where he takes questions on politics, social trends and cricket. He wraps it up with a speech. If the meeting is held in an election year, readers demand to know his views on who to vote for.
Yesterday, he rooted for Modi, saying: “I am confident he would bring about a big change.”
But he also had a backup suggestion. “If for any reason the BJP is unable to form a government, it should support Jayalalithaa for the Prime Minister’s post,” Cho said.
Sometimes, Cho invites political leaders to share the dais with him. In the last six years, he has hosted Modi twice — in 2012, the Gujarat chief minister shared the dais with L.K. Advani.
On Tuesday, he invited three local political leaders from the state BJP, Congress and the CPM to talk about the 2014 elections.
Saying that a vote for the AAP was a “waste vote”, Cho described the party-led government’s austerity measures as stunts. “Ramakrishna Hegde as chief minister of Karnataka used to travel in an unmarked car with no police escort …. If you want a present-day example for simplicity, there is Manik Sarkar, the CPM chief minister of Tripura, who even today uses public transport,” Cho said.
In Karnataka, the AAP has been left guessing the plans of high-profile entrant V. Balakrishnan, who recently enrolled online as a primary member.
The Infosys co-founder was seen as a prize catch and the AAP had hoped to field him from Bangalore South, where the Congress is expected to nominate Nandan Nilekani against the BJP’s Ananth Kumar.
“As far as we know here, Bala has not met anyone from the party,” AAP spokesperson Rohit Ranjan told The Telegraph. “The party will know if someone wants to contest and then we send the proposal to our central team which would take the final decision.”
A source said the AAP had invited applications for tickets and said it would choose its candidates from among the applicants, so it cannot approach Bala if he doesn’t first express interest.