A worker from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) speaks on his mobile phone at the party headquarters in New Delhi.
New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal yesterday named over 20 top politicians including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as “corrupt”, and attacked him and BJP’s Narendra Modi for spending over “`5bn ($800m) on branding” and image-building exercise.
Addressing the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national executive here, Kejriwal outlined the party’s objective vis-a-vis the Lok Sabha polls: “We have to ensure that no corrupt person is elected to the parliament.”
Reading out what seemed to be a prepared list at a packed auditorium at the Constitution Club, Kejriwal said he had a list of “corrupt people” in politics. “I have made a list of corrupt people. This is just the beginning and the list will grow. “I am presenting the names to you, and you decide whether these people should be elected to parliament or not.”
Kejriwal went on to name former BJP president Nitin Gadkari, cabinet ministers Sushikumar Shinde, P Chidambaram, Salman Khurshid, M Veerappa Moily, Kapil Sibal, Kamal Nath, Sriprakash Jaiswal, Praful Patel and Sharad Pawar, Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi, BSP chief Mayawati, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, central minister Farooq Abdullah, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, DMK’s Kanimozhi, BJP’s Ananth Kumar and B S Yeddyurappa and BJP MP Anurag Thakur. As he finished reading the list, the nearly 400 AAP leaders and senior members gathered from all over India roared “No!” in unison in response to his earlier question whether these people should be voted to parliament.
After he finished with the names, a section of the audience took Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s name. Prompted, Kejriwal took Gandhi’s name too, only to be greeted by his supporters’ vocal approval.
An AAP spokesman later said that Kejriwal did not have Gandhi’s name on his list of “corrupt people” but took his name after being prompted by party delegates.
Kejriwal, who took over as Delhi’s chief minister on December 28, went on to attack Modi — the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate — and Rahul Gandhi over their campaign expenditure.
“They spend `5bn for brand. Will those who spend so much on brand ever be able to give an honest government?” asked Kejriwal.
Kejriwal said the Congress and the BJP should make it public from where they get the financial resources on building the image of their prospective prime ministers.
“We have to ensure that no corrupt person is elected to parliament.” Amid intermittent clapping, the chief minister took the Congress — which props up his government — and the BJP to task for what he said were their failures despite having ruled Delhi in the past.
“Electricity charges have increased in the last five years. People wanted a CAG audit. But the (two) parties refused to get an audit done. “We ordered an audit within five days (of taking power),” Kejriwal said.
The activist-turned-politician also condemned the BJP and the Congress for merely demanding all these years a probe into the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that left hundreds dead. “We came to power, and I met the Lt. Governor some days back to demand a probe.”
On the Lok Sabha election, Kejriwal said it did not matter in how many constituencies the AAP fielded candidates since the party’s main goal was to fight corruption.