Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi Monday said his party decided to support the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi “to give them a chance to prove themselves” and dismissed the notion that it was done in order to divide the anti-Congress vote.
Asked by Times Now news channel if after witnessing the “chaos” in Delhi if he agreed with Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s view that the decision to support AAP was unnecessary, Gandhi said: “I think that as far as I am concerned that the AAP won an election in Delhi and we thought that we would assist them.”
Prodded by anchor Arnab Goswami further, he said the Congress felt the AAP should be given “a chance to prove themselves, and one can see what they are doing and one can see exactly how much they have proved themselves”.
Asked to comment about popular Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Gandhi merely said: “He is a leader of an opposition party like many others.”
Asked point blank if the Congress was using the AAP to split the anti-Congress vote bank in order to keep BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi out of power, he said: “I think you underestimate the power of the Congress party, I don’t think the Congress party could even do that if they wanted to…..Questions about whether we have supported AAP or not supported AAP, frankly it is a ridiculous notion. It is ridiculous that we would construct the AAP..”.
To Goswami’s question if the Congress could continue to support Kejriwal’s party if it goes against former chief minister Sheila Dikshit in the CWG scam, Gandhi did not answer the question, and merely said: “I have already said that regardless of who the person is, if there is an issue of corruption, the law should take its own course, that’s my position.”
Asked if he has changed views on the AAP after praising them initially, Gandhi said the way they have reached people in their own particular way was good.
“The work that I have done in the Congress party, the work that I have done in the youth Congress and the work that I am going to do in the future is about bringing in youngsters into the party, strengthening processes, strengthening candidate selection process and strengthening policy processes,” he said.
Gandhi said he had spoken earlier about something that the Congress “can learn from them (AAP)”.
“What I felt that we could learn from them is that they reached out to people in a particular way that was good. There are things that I don’t think we should take away from them.”