Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal has clarified his party’s stance on poll partnerships for 2019 general elections. Without naming any party, Mr Kejriwal responded to a question on alliances, saying he would take every measure to stop the team of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah from coming to power again. The comment came amid speculation that Mr Kejriwal’s party is engaged in backroom talks with the Congress to stitch an alliance.
“I believe the team of Amit Shah-ji and Narendra Modi-ji is dangerous for the country’s present and future. If they come to power in 2019, they will not even spare the country’s Constitution. If they change the Constitution, nothing would be left. So it is the responsibility of every patriotic citizen of the country to defeat the team, and to do that, we will take all the measures that we can,” he said.
It is a change of stance for the AAP chief, who had responded in the negative in August when he was asked if his party would join the Mahagathbandhan, a proposed alliance of opposition parties. “My politics is the politics of the people, the politics of development, the politics of welfare. Our politics is not the politics of gathbandhan (alliance),” he had said.
Arvind Kejriwal was one of the most bitter critics of the Congress-led UPA government at the centre. In 2013, his party and the Congress contested Delhi assembly elections against each other, which benefited the BJP that bagged 32 seats.
To stop the BJP from forming the government, Mr Kejriwal took outside support from the Congress and became the Chief Minister. Arvind Kejriwal resigned after 49 days after tiff with the centre over the Jan Lokpal bill. In 2015, his party got a massive mandate, winning 67 out of 70 assembly seats.
Mr Kejriwal’s change in stance on alliances is significant, coming after his maiden attendance at a key meeting of the opposition last week.
Last month, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal were on the same stage for the first time as opposition leaders attended a massive farmers’ protest in Delhi.
Arvind Kejriwal was recently urged to drop his anti-Congress stance by Tamil Nadu politician MK Stalin, who met him after discussions with Rahul Gandhi. DMK leader Stalin met with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief for 30 minutes. “Don’t keep a negative stance against the Congress. The country needs a mahagatbandhan (grand alliance) and you have a role in it,” Mr Stalin reportedly told Mr Kejriwal.
TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee are at the helm of efforts to bring several regional parties on board a pre-poll alliance with the Congress, against the BJP. Though there is no official confirmation of an alliance as yet, opposition leaders from the Left parties, TDP, TMC, NC, BSP and SP have come together on several occasions to display their unity.