Hoping to put behind its disappointing performance in Lok Sabha polls, AAP today virtually kickstarted its campaign to regain lost ground with a rally in the city where the party threatened to launch a door-to-door campaign if the assembly was not dissolved within a week to pave the way for fresh election.
Addressing a rally at Jantar Mantar, the popular protest hotspot in the heart of Delhi, Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal attacked the BJP government at the Centre for "not allowing" dissolution of Delhi assembly as the party was "not ready to face the electorate" in the city.
In his 35-minute speech, his first major public address after the electoral drubbing of the party in the Lok Sabha polls, Kejriwal said AAP was fully ready to face the election and claimed that BJP and Congress were shying away from polls as they were afraid of defeat.
"We are giving a week's time to the government. If they do not dissolve the assembly, we will undertake door-to-door and signature campaign and demand dissolution of the assembly so that fresh elections can be conducted.
"The BJP and Congress should face fresh election. The BJP is delaying election and this is helping the AAP. If elections are conducted now, AAP will get 40 seats, if it is conducted in October, we will get 50 and 55 in February," said Kejriwal while addressing a rally, seen as an effort by AAP to regroup and regain its lost ground after it drew blank in the Lok Sabha election in Delhi.
In a spectacular poll debut, AAP had won 28 seats in the Delhi assembly election held in December last year and formed the government later with outside support from Congress.
The 49-day AAP government had resigned on February 14 after it was defeated on the issue of tabling of the Janlokpal Bill. In the Lok Sabha election, held in April, the AAP could not even win a single seat in Delhi.
Speaking at the well-attended rally, the former Chief Minister also slammed Lt Governor Najeeb Jung alleging that he was not taking decisions "independently" and was functioning under the influence of the ruling party at the Centre "to save his chair".
"LG is trying to save his chair. If he does not listen to the BJP, he will lose his chair," the AAP leader said.
In his rally attended by senior AAP leaders, party MLAs and MPs, the former Delhi Chief Minister trumpeted achievements of his 49-day government and lambasted the saffron party over a range of issues like high electricity tariffs, inflation, corruption and the on-going UPSC row.
Kejriwal said just like at the Centre where Congress is demanding the post of Leader of Opposition due to lack of numbers, the BJP will also face a similar problem if election is conducted in Delhi. He also ridiculed the Congress saying voting for the party would mean "wasting" the vote.
"The BJP does not want election as an internal survey conducted by the party had said that it would lose. In a meeting with the BJP-RSS, it was decided to form the government.
"The marriage between the BJP and Congress was already fixed...Engagement was done and Rs 20 crore were to be exchanged. But AAP broke their marriage. The BJP was trying to buy off AAP MLAs, but no one succumbed to their pressure," Kejriwal alleged.
Slamming the BJP for long power outages and high electricity bills, the former Delhi Chief Minister said it was only AAP which could handle the discoms and solve the water woes of Delhi.
"The electricity tariff has tripled ever since we quit the government. The BJP is hands-in-glove with the discoms. Only we can handle the discoms. We conducted audits and even brought down the electricity bills.
"While we were in power, we had cracked down on tanker mafia, but now the tanker rates have rose to Rs 4,000," the AAP leader said.
Kejriwal also alleged that the Centre has recently passed an order under which the Anti-Corruption Branch of Delhi will not be able to register any complaint against any Central minister.
The AAP, while it was in power in Delhi, had asked the ACB, which comes under direct control of the Chief Minister, to register an FIR against the then Union Petroleum Minister Verrappa Moily and Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani for alleged irregularities in the KG basin case.
The former Delhi Chief Minister also alleged that the Delhi Police demands money from auto drivers and hawkers, and claimed that during his 49-day AAP government, auto drivers were not harassed and police had stopped demanding bribe.
"Even our police brothers are poor and are forced to take money by their seniors. I appeal to you to record such conversations and give it to me. In coming months AAP is coming to power and we will deal with such errant officers," Kejriwal said.
He claimed that rising vegetable prices in Delhi was due to bribe paid by suppliers in the national capital.
Kejriwal also said that the Centre had no will to solve the problems of the e-rickshaw drivers.
"How much time does it take to get an order from the Cabinet and formulate a policy on e-rickshaw. If you are really willing, you can hold the meeting now, get a decision passed and convey this to the court. If require will and the government does not posses it," he said.
Kejriwal also attacked the government over the recent UPSC row and said that the government had betrayed the students as it had no "intention" to resolve the issue.
"The police rule should first stop in Delhi where students are being beaten up. The government has betrayed the students by not taking a speedy decision in the UPSC row. How much time does it take a decision in this matter by a government which claims to be saviour of Hindi? You need good intention to take decisions," he claimed.