No truck with Congress or BJP

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NEW DELHI, December 11:  The Aam Aadmi Party’s national convener Arvind Kejriwal asserted on Tuesday that there was no question of his party taking support from either the Congress or the BJP.

Describing the Congress and the BJP as parties with “corrupt and similar ideologies,” Mr. Kejriwal rejected the unilateral and ‘unconditional’ support to the AAP announced by the Congress, to enable it to form a government in Delhi. On party colleague Prashant Bhushan’s suggestion that the AAP could provide issue-based support to the BJP, he said Mr. Bhushan had clarified that it was not the party’s view.

Speaking to The Hindu at his fourth-floor apartment in Ghaziabad before rushing to a party meeting in Central Delhi, the 44-year-old former Indian Revenue Service officer said the two main parties could come together and form a government. The Kejriwal home was buzzing with activity as a large group of party workers and journalists thronged it.

Mr. Kejriwal described the poll outcome in Delhi as a “historic mandate” in which the AAP emerged the runner-up with 28 seats. The results showed that people were fed up and “despondent” with the main political parties, he said, appealing to honest people and clean businessmen to join hands with his party. “I also appeal to those in the Congress and the BJP who are feeling suffocated to join us.”

After his election as legislative party leader of the AAP, Mr. Kejriwal credited the impressive victory of the party to “truth, honesty and transparency” to which it was committed. “There is a vacuum for honest politics; people are yearning for honesty and probity in political life.”

Mr. Kejriwal, who emerged a “giant killer,” dethroning Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit by a convincing margin, said it was his principles that prompted him to enter the electoral fray against the three-time Congress Chief Minister. His one-year-old debutant party secured a vote share of 29.6 per cent as against the BJP’s 34.2 per cent.

On the AAP’s future plans, he said his party would contest a few Lok Sabha seats in 2014. He thanked Anna Hazare for his “encouraging” remarks and said he wanted to join the social activist in his fast at Ralegaon Siddhi as a common worker.

Meanwhile, despite the insistence by the AAP that the mandate was for it to sit in the Opposition, the BJP reiterated its reluctance to explore the possibility of forming a government. It wanted the new party to take up the responsibility.

Also, with the Election Commission formally notifying the results, the focus will now shift to Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung.

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