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Voting For BJP in MCD Elections is Voting For a Pile of Garbage: Arvind Kejriwal

A TV Grab of AAP leader and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal (CNN-News18)

A TV Grab of AAP leader and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal (CNN-News18)

With a week left for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said people should not be swayed by the Modi wave.

With a week left for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said people should not be swayed by the Modi wave. In an exclusive interview with CNN-News 18's Anubha Bhonsle, Kejriwal also said Aam Aadmi Party would have won the Punjab Assembly elections if the electronic voting machines (EVMs) weren't tampered with.

Edited excerpts:

Anubha Bhonsle (AB): Why all these interviews now? You haven't spoken in a while.

Arvind Kejriwal (Kejriwal): Nothing like that, when there is something to say, I speak. Ahead of the MCD elections we would like to talk about our objectives on how to develop Delhi further.

This isn't an ordinary MCD election, there seems to be a cumulative momentum towards one political party, the BJP. In spite of your good work in the last 2 years, you may not be able to make a showing.

Kejriwal: There are two things that people of Delhi need to understand. First, high anti-incumbency wave against BJP which has been in power in MCD for the last 10 years. The rise in dengue, chikungunya, garbage strewn all over, all of this bad maintenance is because of MCD. BJP-ruled MCD has done nothing. Hence, I would say that if you are voting for BJP, then you are voting for a pile of garbage. It's imperative that we bring about a change.

If you vote for BJP, then there is not going to be any developmental work, there will be garbage everywhere, people will be unhappy because of their erratic pay. All of us will be unhappy. Second, I see BJP's advertisements and all I can say is they are begging for votes through Modi. Modiji is not going to run MCD, corrupt people are going to run the MCD. Hence, I don't want people to get persuaded with Modi wave.

AB: But do you agree with this Modi wave?

Kejriwal: Request people not to be swayed by this so called Modi wave. Please see how the BJP has run MCD in the past 10 years and compare it with the AAP government in Delhi for two years. AAP has done so many things that people are appreciating it . We will make MCD shine within a year. Solid waste management is not a rocket science, yet these people have not been able to solve the garbage issue.

AB: But if you don't win the elections, do you think this is going to be because of this wave?

Kejriwal: Why would we think we are not winning, we are winning this definitely. If AAP doesn't win MCD elections, then what will happen to Delhi. What about gargage issues, what about maintaining cleanliness. It will be run by corrupt people. We want to inform Delhi about what can change if we are voted to power.

We constructed around 7-8 flyovers in last 2 years, we completed one flyover with a cost of Rs 200 crore instead of Rs 300 crore. Do a fact-check. All these are genuine figures. If our data was wrong, the BJP and the Congress would have reacted. We saved Rs 350 crore while constructing five flyovers. Look at Rani Jhansi flyover, which is being constructed by BJP, its been 11 years since 2006 and the project is still incomplete. Already, 724 crore have been splurged on it. All money is being wasted in corruption.

AB: Why do you think your party lost the Rajouri Garden by-election?

Kejriwal: As per the feedback from our door-to-door volunteers, Rajouri Garden voters were angry, questioning why their MLA resigned to fight elections in Punjab.

But Jarnail Singh wanted to fight from Punjab. But this didn't go down well with the people, we were unsuccessful in pacifying them.

AB: There is a perception about AAP that you guys leave everything in between. When you have Delhi, you go to Punjab.

Kejriwal: >We haven't left anything, we are still running a government here.

AB: Yes, but this is a perception.

Kejriwal: All parties fight in other states also, and our govt is doing well here. As per your analogy, there was anger because of me fighting Lok Sabha elections. I have learn't a lesson about not resigning from anywhere, the public doesn't like it.

AB: During Punjab elections, you used a lot of symbolism like invoking Guru Gobind Singhji. Elections are over and it's Baisakhi, but there is not even a single greeting from your side?

Kejriwal: No, I wished them. People were visiting me since morning.

This came as a reaction after uproar in social media.

Kejriwal: According to you when should I have wished. I'm not aware of any reaction, only you are informing me about it. If you politicise everything depending on what I used to do earlier and what I’m doing now, I think that is not fair.

But you use social media so aggresively as a communication tool

Kejriwal: My work commitments have been as such, I meet a lot of people.

What do you think happened in Punjab?

Kejriwal: The kind of energy I witnessed in Punjab, I had not seen anything like that earlier and I don't think such kind of an election is going to take place again. Whoever saw it, everybody said AAP was going to win. Our volunteers worked relentlessly in different villages. Akali Dal workers weren't even allowed to enter in certain villages. But we got just 2 votes in such villages and SAD got 300 votes, this is not possible. I think EVMs were tampered with in Punjab, UP and Uttarakhand.

AB: What if this alleged tampering hadn't taken place, then?

Kejriwal: Then AAP would definitely had formed a government.

AB: You think there was no political rationale?

Kejriwal: We are definitely introspecting our loopholes, but our defeat was not because of these loopholes. You learn from your mistakes. We are learning, but I still couldn't figure out why I lost this election. Hence, I am so worried, if EVM tampering can lead to such kind of election victory, then there will be no democracy at all.

AB: Did BJP do this rigging to lead the Congress to victory? Where is the proof?

Kejriwal: BJP senior ministers had always wanted to keep AAP away from Punjab. There are several circumstantial evidence. In 2009-2014, their leaders like Subramanian Swamy, GVL Rao and Advani all of them were speaking against EVM tampering. But now they are saying EVMs cannot be tampered.

ALSO READ | Try and Rig EVMs: EC Takes Up Kejriwal's Challenge

AB: It's the same logic, when you won the 67 seats, you also stopped saying.

Kejriwal: Before we won the 67 seats, Delhi Cantt elections took place and we found out how EVMs were tampered with since all votes were going to BJP. We raised doubts then. We came to power in Delhi. Haryana, Jharkhand, Maharastra was won by BJP but there were no evidence back then based on which we could raise our voices.

But in the past four months, we have seen evidence from Pune, Bhind, Dholpur. An Independent candidate from Pune got zero votes. He said there were people who vote from them. Can you deny such evidence. Same goes in Bhind, while testing EVMs where all votes went to BJP. Many reports surfaced from UP as well.

AB: How far are you willing to take this fight?

Kejriwal: Until I'm satisfied. Today, there are seeds of doubt, people have doubts about EVM tampereing. Until as an authority I'm able to eradicate doubts will remain. SC said VVPAT must be installed but nothing has been done yet? SC said this back in 2013. They haven't received Rs 1600 crore which is required to do this.

AB: Why are you investing so much of time and capital to taint EC?

Kejriwal: Because there are irregularities. People need to be aware and that's what we have been doing.

AB: Manish Sisodia has done a lot to wipe out corruption in education system. He has brought an end to the donation business. Yet he has been slapped with three cases by the CBI, do you think Sisodia is a corrupt man?

Kejriwal: He has challenged mafia business in education and yet he is being stopped from doing good work. I reduced electricity rates as CM. We challenged corrupt systems here, they raided my home, they already have attached CBI cases on my ministers because they want to break us. They want to damage our body of work, we are not fighting for ourselves, we are fighting for the common man.

AB: Rs 97 crore spent on ads?

Kejriwal: No law has postulated the fact that we cannot advertise outside Delhi. Every government does it. We advertised everywhere. Other political parties spend huge sums of money in conducting summits but we haven't spent a single penny behind such summits. If we are advertising across the country about the developmental work we have undertaken to attract investment in Delhi, then what is wrong in that?

As a CM don't I have the right to have my picture on ads? Everyone does it. And if you want to recover money, then why don't you ask the other Chief Ministers to pay up as well?

AB: What do you have to say on the Arun Jailtey defamation case?

Kejriwal: DDCA is a highly corrupt body, all the points I came up with after the interview only goes on to affirm how corrupted DDCA is, some big names were also involved. I exercised my right as a CM and also in a bid to clean the corruption-ridden system.

Now, if someone slaps defamation, then obviously I will be fighting it as a government. I haven't waged a political war. If it's a government case then obviously the government will fight it to root out corruption. Jaitley also testified before the court he slapped a case against me because I'm the CM of Delhi. He has admitted it and it's on record.

AB: Post MCD polls do you see an impact of Shunglu report?

Kejriwal: We didn't send any file to Lieutenant Governor thinking we are the final authority, where is corruption in this? I am very happy that my opponents couldn't find anything against us.

AB: Arvind Kejriwal's perception as a common man, I feel it has taken a bit of a beating?

Kejriwal: That is what you think. The public doesn't think so. I stay with the public nothing has changed according to me.

AB: Do you believe rapprochement is possible with Yadav and Prashant Bhushan?

Kejriwal: I have always believed that good people need to come forth and work together. I think it should happen in the future when personal, mental grievances are cut crossed. Let's give it time, let the tempers cool down.

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