New Delhi, Jan 31: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Friday stirred a fresh controversy by naming over 20 top politicians including Rahul Gandhi, Nitin Gadkari, Mayawati and Sharad Pawar as “corrupt”. Hitting back, Congress questioned his commitment to a legal process while the BJP asked him to furnish proof or apologise.
Union minister Farooq Abdullah, who was also among the 20 politicians named by Kejriwal, said he will take recourse to legal action against the Aam Aadmi Party leader.
Addressing the Aam Aadmi Party national executive here, Kejriwal also attacked Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for spending crores on creating a “brand”.
Reading out what seemed to be a prepared list at a packed auditorium at the Constitution Club, Kejriwal said he had a list of “corrupt people” in politics.
“I have made a list of corrupt people. This is just the beginning and the list will grow.
“I am presenting the names to you, and you decide whether these people should be elected to parliament or not.”
Kejriwal went on to name former BJP president Gadkari, cabinet ministers Sushikumar Shinde, P. Chidambaram, Salman Khurshid, M. Veerappa Moily, Kapil Sibal, Kamal Nath, Sriprakash Jaiswal, Praful Patel, Abdullah and Pawar, Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, DMK’s Kanimozhi, BJP’s Ananth Kumar, B.S. Yeddyurappa and Anurag Thakur.
As he finished reading the list, the nearly 400 AAP leaders and senior members gathered from all over India roared “No!” in unison in response to his earlier question whether these people should be voted to parliament.
After he finished with the names, a section of the audience took Rahul Gandhi’s name.
Prompted, Kejriwal took Gandhi’s name too, only to be greeted by his supporters’ vocal approval.
An AAP spokesman later told IANS that Kejriwal did not have Gandhi’s name on his list of “corrupt people” but took his name after being prompted by party delegates.
Kejriwal, who took over as Delhi’s chief minister Dec 28, went on to attack Modi and Rahul Gandhi over their campaign expenditure.
“They spend Rs.500 crore for Modi’s brand. Will those who spend so much on brand ever be able to give an honest government?” he asked. “We have to ensure that no corrupt person is elected to parliament.”
On the Lok Sabha election, Kejriwal said it did not matter in how many constituencies the AAP fielded candidates since the party’s main goal was to fight corruption.
His remarks drew a scathing response from the Congress.
“Lists require two things – pen and paper and a subjective mind. All of us can issue lists. The chief minister has earlier shown that he has scant regard for constitutional and legal processes,” said party spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
“We are one on the war against corruption and we also have pride in Indian democracy that we are not a judge, a jury, a prosecutor and a convicter rolled into one. We have to respect legal processes and we have not confessed to be an anarchist as the chief minister appears to have done,” he added.
Asked why the party had not withdrawn support to AAP government, Singhvi said the party did not want it to fall “for the sake of our eight seats.”
Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said that Kejriwal should either give proof of his allegations or apologise.
He said the party was keeping open all options including legal recourse.
BJP vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also rejected Kejriwal’s allegations against BJP leaders.
“He (Kejriwal) thinks he is chairman of some international honesty commission…. They will be exposed,” Naqvi told IANS.
Abdullah, who was in Chennai, told reporters that he would approach court and give answer to Kejriwal for mentioning his name in his list of “corrupt” politicians.