In his first admission that his decision to quit as Delhi chief minister had gone wrong, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal said he mistimed the decision to resign, and that mistake meant AAP suffers a communication gap with the people. He said that AAP will have to be more careful in future.
Kejriwal said he does not regret the decision to quit on principle, but he feels that he should not have it done the same night BJP and Congress blocked the passage of the Jan Lokpal Bill.
“In hindsight, I think we should have taken a few more days to hold public meetings to explain the rationale behind our decision and then quit. The suddenness of our decision and the communication gap with masses allowed BJP and Congress to spread falsehood about us and label us as escapists. This is a mistake we made and we’ll be more careful in future,” he said.
AAP’s political rivals as well as many neutral observers have critiqued it for running away from governance responsibility. This is the first time Kejriwal responded to that criticism by admitting an error on his and his party’s part.
Responding to questions on whether this error has cost him middle-class support, Kejriwal said both yes and no. “There are two categories of people who have been disappointed with AAP’s resignation from government. The first category is made up of our staunch supporters who acknowledge our work in government and will continue to vote for us. The second category is of people who want Arvind Kejriwal for CM and Modi for PM. People in this category could not handle the fact that I took Modi on directly and these people are very angry with me. We’ll never get these supporters back, but this is a very small chunk,” he said.
He said Modi won’t be India’s prime minister as BJP will get less than 180 seats. He also said AAP candidates will defeat both Modi from Varanasi and Rahul Gandhi from Amethi and “change the political discourse of the country”.
“My calculations tell me that BJP will win less than 180 seats and Modi will not be the PM of this country,” he said.
“We will win the two seats that will change the political discourse of the country: Amethi and Varanasi. If BJP wins over 200 seats, but loses Varanasi, do you think that victory will hold any meaning for the party? Similarly, Congress’ loss in Amethi will spell doom for its leadership even if it manages to emerge as the single largest party,” Kejriwal said.
He was, however, not willing to put a number to his own party’s performance.
Commenting on Modi’s disclosure about his wife in his nomination papers, he said, “It’s a personal matter so I don’t want to say much, but one does wonder what the lady (Modi’s wife) must have been through. Why was Modiji silent about her all these years?”