NEW DELHI : India’s anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal vowed Sunday to clean up “dirty politics” in a fiery speech suggesting that his party will team up with the Congress party to form a state government in Delhi.
Kejriwal, a former civil servant turned politician, has been under pressure to form a govt with support from a major party since the stunning performance of his Aam Aadmi Party in the December 4 state election. The party won 28 of the 70 seats, trouncing Congress which previously ruled the state but took only eight seats and depriving the biggest winner - the BJP with 31 - of an overall majority. But Kejriwal has been wary of accepting support from either the nationally ruling Congress or the main national opposition BJP, after voters flocked to him because they were disillusioned with mainstream politics and angry at rampant corruption.
“If we form the government, we will pass an anti-corruption law and send corrupt BJP and Congress leaders to jail,” Kejriwal told a rally in Delhi of several hundred supporters.
“We are not after political power. We want to change the system and cleanse the dirty politics,” Kejriwal said, adding that he expected to make an announcement on forming a state government on Monday.
The success of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), only a year after its formation, signalled its emergence as a new political force which poses a threat to the two main parties in a general election due by May.
With the BJP declining to form a state government without an overall majority, the AAP was invited by Delhi’s governor to take on the job.
In an unusual move it asked supporters whether it should do so, holding public meetings and urging them to telephone or SMS their views.
With Sunday the last day for supporter input, media speculation was mounting that Kejriwal would finally team up with Congress.
The Hindustan Times newspaper and other media said the AAP has received an overwhelming response in favour of forming a new state administration.
“We have got a very positive and clear response. If things go the same way (today), we will definitely form the government,” the daily quoted an AAP leader, Manish Sisodia, as saying.
Congress, in power at the national level for a decade, has seen its popularity plummet following a series of corruption scandals, and policy paralysis that has been partly blamed for India’s faltering economy.
The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi tore into Congress during a rally Sunday, saying its corruption scandals and poor governance have ruined the country.
“Corruption has assumed enormous proportions in the country. The country can free itself of corruption if it throws out Congress from power,” Modi told the rally in the financial hub Mumbai.