Gearing up for the assembly polls in a bid to recapture power, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal has said he will be the party’s “face” for the election campaign and indicated that he will be the chief ministerial nominee.
46-year-old Kejriwal, who led AAP to a stunning debut in the assembly polls in December last year, said there was no reason why there would be a change in chief ministerial nominee though a final decision on it would be taken by the party.
“There is no reason why there would be a change,” Kejriwal said, adding the party will take a final decision on the issue.
Instrumental in devising an unconventional campaign strategy for AAP during the last assembly polls, Kejriwal said he will be the face of the party’s campaign this time as well.
BJP has already announced that it will not project any chief ministerial candidate and will fight the polls under collective leadership. Congress also said it will not have any chief ministerial nominee.
Exuding confidence of AAP getting a clear mandate in the assembly polls, Kejriwal said result of a survey carried out one-and-half months ago showed that AAP will get 47 per cent vote-share against BJP’s 37 per cent if elections were held.
“People remember those 49 days. It was a kind of dream for people. That is why they will vote for us. We are confident of getting a clear majority,” Kejriwal told PTI in an interview.
He, however, said that quitting the government after the 49-day rule was the “biggest mistake” of his political career and admitted that his party made a wrong “political estimation” as it thought elections will be held immediately.
“Resigning was the biggest mistake. People had high hopes and their hopes were shattered. It is easy to analyse things in retrospect. We thought elections will be held immediately after our resignation,” he said.
AAP had made a dream debut in the assembly polls last year winning 28 seats riding on anti-corruption plank and promise to provide clean governance.
In the assembly polls, AAP had secured a vote share of 29.49 per while BJP and Congress got 33.07 per cent and 24.55 per cent respectively.
Congress’ vote share came down to 15.1 per cent in the Lok Sabha election while BJP’s support base went up to 46.1 per cent and AAP’s vote share increased to 32.9 per cent though the party lost in all the seven seats in Delhi.
Kejriwal also rejected criticism that he quit the government as he had had prime ministerial ambition.
“I didn’t leave chief minister’s chair to become prime minister. That is a BJP propaganda. A chief minister does not require to resign constitutionally to become prime minister. Did Modi leave the post of CM while contesting, aiming to become PM?
If I had such ambitions why would I fight against Modi? I would have chosen a safe seat. This is complete bunkum,” the AAP leader said.
Admitting that contesting over 400 seats in Lok Sabha was a mistake, he said he took full responsibility for the defeat. “I take full responsibility for the defeat.”
AAP had contested over 400 seats and won in four in Punjab.
Kejriwal said BJP will be AAP’s main opponent in the polls as Congress was not in a position to offer a strong fight. He also said BJP and Congress do not have any credible face to project in the elections.
He came down heavily on BJP for the delay in facing the polls saying the party has played “dirty politics, dirty tricks with the people of Delhi which is not right”.
“We wanted to make systemic changes through law and rules like Lokpal bill and various other laws but we did not have a majority. Congress and BJP ganged up. That is the reason we resigned. We thought we are resigning today and elections will be held tomorrow and people of Delhi will vote for us.
“There we committed a mistake. Our political estimation was wrong. Assessment was wrong. We did not foresee that President’s rule will be imposed,” he said.