Arvind Kejriwal says I don't promote bribery
Chandigarh, Jan 17: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday denied charges of promoting bribery by asking voters to take money from other parties and vote for the AAP in Punjab and Goa.
Kejriwal, in political rallies in Punjab, has been urging voters to accept money from the Shiromani Akali Dal and other parties but vote for the Aam Aadmi Party. He has been issued a notice by the Election Commission in this regard. The BJP complained to the poll panel in connection with a similar appeal made in Goa.
He said he had faced similar allegations ahead of the Delhi assembly elections of 2015 too and the court ruled in his favour saying he was not encouraging bribery. The AAP leader said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Punjab Congress President Amarinder Singh were together in the fight for the February 4 assembly election.
Referring to Amarinder Singh's move to contest against Badal from the latter's traditional seat of Lambi, Kejriwal said Amarinder Singh had been approached by the Akalis to do so and divide the anti-Badal vote. The AAP has fielded former Delhi lawmaker Jarnail Singh, who had hurled a shoe at then Home Minister P. Chidambaram in 2009, against Badal from Lambi.
"Amarinder Singh should contest only from Lambi," Kejriwal told the media here on Tuesday. "Our candidate Jarnail Singh's campaign was going great in Lambi. So Badal requested Amarinder (Singh) to contest from Lambi so that the anti-Akali votes will get split."
Kejriwal demanded to know why Amarinder Singh, also contesting from his traditional Patiala seat, had suddenly decided to take on Badal at Lambi when he had never done so for three decades. "Until now the Akalis used to field weak candidates against the Congress leaders and vice-versa. For the first time the AAP has fielded its senior leadership against the Akalis."
He said that former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu's decision to join the Congress won't have any impact on the Punjab assembly battle. Sidhu "will make no difference" to the election to pick a 117-seat Punjab assembly, Kejriwal said.
A former BJP MP, Sidhu joined the Congress after initially toying with the idea of entering the AAP. "Sidhu has lost all significance," Kejriwal said. It was not only important to defeat the Akali leaders politically but to prosecute them too for their crimes, Kejriwal said.
On the controversial Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue, Kejriwal said Prime Minister Narendra Modi could resolve the issue between Punjab and Haryana "within minutes" but was unwilling to do so for political reasons. The Bharatiya Janata Party controls the central governmnt and is in power in Haryana and Punjab too. Why can't all three sides sit down and resolve the matter, he asked.
Kejriwal is the poster boy of the AAP in Punjab. He again stated on Tuesday that the party would elect a Chief Minister only after winning the election. The three main contestants in Punjab are the ruling Akali Dal-BJP coalition, the main opposition Congress party and the AAP, a first timer.