Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today appealed to all Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP workers in Gujarat to work for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) while staying in the ruling party.
Mr Kejriwal said BJP workers should continue to get “payment” from the BJP but work for AAP “from inside”.
Addressing a press conference in Rajkot on the final day of his two-day visit to poll-bound Gujarat, Mr Kejriwal said BJP workers will benefit from all the “guarantees” promised by him to people when his party comes to power in the state.
“We do not want BJP leaders. The BJP can keep its leaders. BJP’s ‘panna pramukhs’, workers in villages, booths and talukas are joining us in droves. I would like to ask them what the BJP gave them in return for their service in the party even after so many years?” the AAP national convener asked.
Mr Kejriwal said the BJP did not offer free and quality education, healthcare and free electricity to BJP workers and their family members but AAP will care for their welfare.
“You (BJP workers) can stay in that party but work for AAP. Many of them get paid (by BJP), so take the payment from there but work for us, because we do not have money,” he said.
“When we form a government, we will provide free electricity, and this will apply to your houses as well. We will provide you with free, 24-hour power, and build good schools for your children where they will get free education. We will ensure free and quality treatment for your family members and offer Rs 1,000 to women (as allowance) in your family,” he said.
Appealing to the BJP workers, Mr Kejriwal said there is no point staying in the BJP and ensuring its victory again after 27 years of rule.
“I would like to tell all the BJP workers to stay there but work for the AAP. You are smart, work for AAP from the inside,” he further said.
He raised the issue of the recent attack on Gujarat AAP general secretary Manoj Sorathiya and apprehended that many more attacks will take place “on the people of Gujarat for supporting AAP”.
“The attack on Manoj Sorathiya shows that BJP is desperate. It is not able to understand what to do. It is staring at a defeat,” he said.
Mr Kejriwal said AAP is not like Congress and cannot be intimidated by the ruling party.
Challenging the ruling BJP, he said, “You have dealt with Congress so far, but we are AAP people. We consider Sardar Patel and Bhagat Singh as our ideals”.
Mr Kejriwal said if BJP thinks it can scare AAP by orchestrating such attacks, then it is wrong.
“We are not going to be scared. We are not cowards. We will fight hard against injustice and corruption. Six crore people of Gujarat now have an alternative (in AAP). They will respond to the 27 years of misgovernance (of BJP),” he said.
He appealed to people to not resort to violence.
“I would like to tell the people that the number of attacks will increase in the coming 2-3 months not just on AAP but on the people. They will attack those people who say they will vote for AAP. Those who speak against BJP will be attacked. They are going to attack people in large numbers,”the AAP leader said.
He said people shouldn’t resort to violence but stay patient and express anger by pressing the (EVM) button to vote out BJP.
Mr Kejriwal, who has announced a string of “guarantees” in a bid to reach out to various sections of the society in Gujarat, said he had met representatives of police personnel, anganwadi and ASHA workers, health workers, traffic cops, gram raksha dal (GRD), auto drivers, and home guards among others during his multiple visits to the state.
The AAP leader said he will meet every group separately in the coming days.
“We have less time. All of you should promote us in your own ways. Especially promote us on social media…Set social media on fire. I would like to appeal to you all to promote the AAP on social media. We will meet you separately and will resolve your issues,” he said.
The assembly elections in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, are slated to be held in December this year.
Mr Kejriwal also attacked the state government for forming a committee of three ministers to listen to the grievances of protesting groups.
“Your intention is not right. You do not want to (resolve the issues of protesting groups). You will offer them lollipops and mislead them. I would like to tell you all to not listen to them,” he said.
On the last day of his two-day Gujarat visit today, Mr Kejriwal is scheduled to attend a ‘townhall’ meeting of sarpanches and ‘village computer entrepreneurs’ in Surendranagar.
He will visit Surat city in the evening to take part in ‘aarti’ at a Ganesh pandal, which has been set up outside the AAP’s office in the Seemada Naka area and named ‘AAP Ka Raja’.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)