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Ready to Endorse Rahul Gandhi As PM If Congress Supports Delhi Statehood Demand, Says Kejriwal

The Delhi chief minister expressed no interest in becoming the prime minister and said his party's aim is to ensure the defeat of PM Narendra Modi and the BJP.


Updated:May 9, 2019, 11:29 AM IST

New Delhi: Aap Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said he would be ready to support Congress chief Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate if the grand old party promises to endorse full statehood for Delhi.

Full statehood for the national capital has been a major poll plank of Kejriwal’s party in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. The AAP manifesto, released last month, was based on this central theme.

Kejriwal’s statement assumes significance in the wake of protracted negotiations with the Congress in Delhi and Haryana, which ultimately proved futile. Talks between the two outfits ended on April 18 following prolonged drama after senior leaders from both parties confirmed there was no further scope for it.

In an exclusive interview with CNN-News18, the Delhi chief minister indicated that his party wanted to ensure Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s defeat in the elections. “Rahul Gandhi might love Modi, but I hate him,” he said.

Kejriwal said his party's support for a PM face would hinge on support for Delhi's statehood demand. He added that Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee was also a probable PM candidate.

Invoking an instance from history, Kejriwal said Adolf Hitler could have been stopped had all his opponents banded together.

“I can’t love someone who plays with the Constitution, encourages lynching and riots,” Kejriwal said, adding he had no interest in becoming the prime minister. “We will support anyone who promises full statehood for Delhi.”

“Our aim is to keep out the duo of Modi and (BJP chief) Amit Shah at any cost,” Kejriwal added.

The AAP convenor also said his party would support Union minister Nitin Gadkari for prime minister, but would not let either Modi or Shah come to power.

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