New Delhi, August 19
Two days after AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal appeared to be pitching himself as a PM candidate with the “Make India Number 1” campaign focusing on education, health and employment followed by the face-off on the Rohingya issue, the BJP today launched, what can easily be called, its fiercest attack on AAP.
While the CBI raided Manish Sisodia’s residence, several BJP leaders, including Anurag Thakur, Gautam Gambhir, RP Singh and Manoj Tiwari, took on the Delhi CM and his deputy over the “rampant corruption” through the excise policy. Even as the BJP’s attack was countered by AAP leaders with equal intensity and force, Delhi MP Parvesh Verma came out with an additional angle, pitching Kejriwal against his right-hand man Sisodia.
“It is possible that Arvind Kejriwal is a CBI informer and is providing inside information,” Verma was quoted as saying as he denied AAP’s allegation of political vendetta and attempts to digress negative perceptions following the release of convicts in the Bilkis Bano case. Verma went on to add that Kejriwal might have been intimidated by the growing popularity of Sisodia and former minister Satyendar Jain and wanted them out of his way.
While launching the “Make India Number 1” campaign on August 17, Kejriwal had urged all political parties and citizens to participate in the mission that would provide “free education and healthcare to all citizens and employment to youth, besides equal rights and dignity to women and fair crop prices to the farmers”.
Though Kejriwal denies having any national ambitions, AAP sources have reportedly claimed that he could be pitched as the party’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Observers say what makes AAP different from other Opposition parties is the fact that “it is not part of any alliance and is focused on its nationwide expansion. Besides, it has a leader with some pan-India acceptability”. While some believe that Bihar CM Nitish Kumar could be the one to take on PM Modi, the observers say what works better for Kejriwal is that his party has governments in two states, unlike other PM hopefuls like West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, Telangana’s K Chandrashekar Rao and Kumar. They are also sensing “some unease” in the BJP over AAP’s “freebies-laced pitch”. HP will vote along with Gujarat followed by a string of state polls next year.
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