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When Arvind Kejriwal attempted horse-trading to form the government in Delhi and was caught on tape

The AAP's desperate defence of this calling it as 'political realignment' when the Congress refused to support it will not convince anyone, and anyone will see that it tried to break Congress MLAs away to form the government despite the Congress not agreeing to support.

There have been talks and reports about an alliance between the AAP and the Congress in Delhi for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Arvind Kejriwal openly said that “He is tired of asking the Congress for an alliance.” Naturally, for a man who said in 2013 that ‘Sab mile hue hein ji’ (Meaning “All politicians are hand-in-glove with each other”) and that AAP will not ally with any party, allying with a party like Congress and claiming to be anti-corruption is the height of hypocrisy.

The real reason for that alliance is simple- to win some seats in Delhi, else AAP is likely to draw a blank there as well as elsewhere in the country. However, this alliance (whether it materializes or not) is not the only example of Kejriwal’s misdeeds. A major, but sadly forgotten chapter of Kejriwal’s political career is his attempted horse-trading in July 2014 to form a Government in Delhi.

Arvind Kejriwal is the national convenor of AAP. His party won 28 seats in Delhi out of 70 in the December 2013 Delhi Assembly polls, with 28% of the vote, finishing 2nd behind the BJP which won around 33% vote and 31 seats and 1 by its ally SAD to make it 32 for the BJP alliance. The Congress won 8 seats with 24% vote in Delhi. The AAP then formed a 49-day Government in Delhi with Congress support and resigned on 14 February 2014. The reason for the resignation was cited as the inability to get the Jan Lokpal Bill passed in the Delhi Assembly, which the AAP could not pass as it did not have a majority in the Assembly. The real reason, of course, was to focus on the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and try to become Prime Minister of the country.

AAP contested 443 Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls but drew a blank everywhere in the country including Delhi except Punjab, where it won 4 Lok Sabha seats. The BJP won a clear majority in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi defeating Arvind Kejriwal in Varanasi by more than 3.71 lakh votes.

In Goa, while campaigning for AAP for the February 2017 Assembly polls, Arvind Kejriwal said that AAP will cancel ticket of any AAP candidate found in any wrongdoing even 24 hours before polls-AAP will leave a seat uncontested but not field tainted candidates!

This claim is extremely hollow and unsound, and by that claim, Kejriwal himself would be unable to contest an election on an AAP ticket on his own issue of horse-trading. Arvind Kejriwal has made allegation after allegation on the BJP leaders, accused the PM Narendra Modi of taking a bribe of Rs 25 crores, in a matter dismissed by the Supreme Court. Kejriwal continues to slander against the PM on his degree, AAP continues to lie that the PM’s suit cost Rs 10 lakh while it cost much less, and was also a gift given to him by an individual, not out of taxpayers’ money. It is revealed that the suit was a gift from a Mr Rameshkumar Bhikabhai Virani, who also rubbished the claims that it could have cost Rs 10 lakhs saying “My son does not have the guts to spend that kind of money or that amount.

Kejriwal continues to claim ‘honesty’ and claims to be ‘an anti-corruption crusader who risked his own life for it by going on a fast unto death’.The reason for his attacks on BJP and the PM is his desperation to become the PM of India and inability to digest the rout of 2014 Lok Sabha in general and his own rout in Varanasi by 3.71 lakh votes to Modi.

In 2013, before the Delhi Assembly polls, he swore on his children that he will not take support from Congress or BJP to form Government in Delhi, which he violated. After that, he resigned in February 2014 from Delhi Govt to try to become the PM of India but gave the excuse that the reason was the inability to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill.

After the AAPs rout in the May 2014 LS polls, he wanted to become the CM of Delhi AGAIN with Congress support. On 20 May 2014, AAP wrote to the Delhi LG asking him not to dissolve the Delhi Assembly and was open to forming Government AGAIN with Congress support (ignoring its reason of not passing Jan Lokpal cited in February 2014). Arvind Kejriwal asked Lt Governor Najeeb Jung not to dissolve the Delhi Assembly anytime soon. In a meeting, Kejriwal told Jung that the party was deliberating on whether it should form the government. Kejriwal also handed over a letter to Jung in which he said AAP would hold a series of public meetings to ascertain people’s views on the issue.

Yogendra Yadav, who later was expelled from AAP also claimed that Kejriwal said on 16 May 2014, the day of the 2014 Lok Sabha results, that he ‘wants to become Delhi CM again’. Open Magazine reported: “…Against the wishes of some AAP leaders, the next day (17 May 2014), even before Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi would perform his Ganga Aarti on the ghats of Varanasi, Kejriwal met Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor to express his readiness to form Delhi’s state government, retreating from the very values he had cited barely six months earlier when he stepped down after 49 days of being in power and realised that he was more at home on the street. He now wanted to be Delhi’s Chief Minister at any cost—moral or otherwise. He also called a Political Affairs Committee (PAC) meeting, and then the fledgeling party’s National Executive and both rejected his proposal. The author of Swaraj, a book-length pamphlet in which he had set forth lofty goals of participatory leadership, imperiously shrugged off the party’s majority line. He was a man possessed, a dictatorial aspirant drawn single-mindedly to the trampling of all dissent…In defeat, this time, he showed no grace and tried vainly to apportion blame on others.”

At this time, in the Delhi Assembly, the BJP had 31 MLAs plus 1 of SAD to make it 32, Congress had 8 and AAP 27 (not including expelled MLA Binny). But at that time in July 2014, Arvind Kejriwal tried to form the Government by poaching Congress MLAs. He himself had tweeted that Congress MLAs were being sold for crores and BJP would pay Rs 20 crore for each Congress MLA. But later it emerged that in July 2014 Arvind Kejriwal himself tried to form the Government in Delhi with the help of Congress MLAs, by trying to break them away from the Congress when the party refused to support AAP. 

Kejriwal had sworn on his children not to take Congress support to form the government. Not only did it violate it in December 2013 to February 2014 by running a 49-day government with Congress support, here in July 2014 when the Congress party was not ready, he tried to break it and get MLAs to support him and become the CM. He himself had tweeted that the cost of one MLAs support was 20 crores.

An audiotape purportedly showing the Aam Aadmi Party national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal discussing his plans to break the Congress and buy its MLAs during the Delhi elections created fresh problems for the party in March 2015. Former AAP MLA Rajesh Garg released the tape, which shows Kejriwal in conversation with him and planning the horse-trading in the run-up to the Delhi Assembly elections (of Feb 2015). This conversation was of July 2014, one and a half months after the 2014 LS polls result, though the tape was out only in March 2015. It is obvious that ex-AAP leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav were aware of this attempt of Kejriwal in July 2014, but kept quiet until they were expelled from the party in March 2015. After they were expelled, they exposed Kejriwal’s attempted horse-trading.

The audio tape of this is available here:
Here is the explosive conversation between Kejriwal and Garg: 
“Kejriwal: We are ready, but they are not agreeing. Manish & all are in touch with them.
Garg: The 8 MLAs are ready, but Ajay Maken and Surjewala are creating hurdles, saying that they will be finished in Haryana.
Kejriwal: So then what to do? This is not their final decision, what can we do?I have tried many times.
Garg: We can appeal in the mohalla sabhas, to the people of Delhi. We can say that if they offer support, we will form the government.
Kejriwal: No don’t say that. Say the opposite.
Garg: No, I’m just asking you.
Kejriwal: No, we should not say anything. If they are ready, we are ready. But if we say this now, it will seem that we are getting desperate.
Kejriwal: You try and break these 6 MLAs away. They should form their own party and support us from outside.
Garg: Yes, okay.
Kejriwal: Congress won’t support us, it has been one and a half months.
Garg: Okay, I will plan something.
Kejriwal: These 6 people were going towards the BJP. They can’t go to the BJP because 3 among them are Muslims. So these 6 might as well support us.
Garg: Okay, I will try and do something.”

There was no question of the authenticity of the tape, the AAP accepted it and the AAP shamelessly justified it as ‘political realignment’! But some people with conscience in the AAP resigned from the party, for e.g. Anjali Damania.

This was also corroborated by the Congress MLAs after the tape became public in March 2015. Former Congress MLA Mateen Ahmed Khan says that he was approached by Garg sometime in July 2014. Another former Congress MLA Hari Shankar Gupta does not confirm if he was asked but says that AAP was desperately looking for Congress support. Asif Mohammad Khan, former Congress MLA says that late in 2014 he had many meetings with Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh who asked him to get their word to the Congress high command. However, Khan says that Rahul and Sonia were dead set against any tie-up with AAP.

Sadly, this tape has been almost completely forgotten. After this expose, the AAP suspended Rajesh Garg, the man who simply released the tape- punishment for exposing Kejriwal.

This tape dismantles Kejriwal’s claim of being an anti-corruption crusader once and for all and shows his greed for power. Even with AAP in power in Delhi, he is desperate to become PM and cannot digest his 2014 rout, and has leveled lies against the PM without apologizing (E.g. in Nov 2014 he tweeted a lie that Varanasi had 3 lakh + bogus voters but did not apologize when the administration clarified that this news was false, and how could BJP have anyway done anything in Varanasi when Samajwadi Party was ruling in UP and UPA at the Centre). If AAP was without power in any state, it would collapse within 2 years, unlike the Jana Sangh/ BJP which sat in Opposition for 50 years.

The name of the late Bangaru Laxman has become synonymous with the 2001 Tehelka sting, but this tape of Kejriwal has been totally forgotten. Kejriwal himself has never been grilled about it when he has given interviews.  Kejriwal’s name should become synonymous with this tape of horse-trading which shows his reality- say something & do something else, and desperation to be in power somehow.

The AAP’s desperate defence of this calling it as ‘political realignment’ when the Congress refused to support it will not convince anyone, and anyone will see that it tried to break Congress MLAs away to form the government despite the Congress not agreeing to support. That tape also carries Kejriwal’s statement “I have tried many times” (to get Congress support) after swearing on his children that he will never take the support of BJP or Congress to form a government.


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Author of the book “Gujarat Riots: The True Story” which gives all the details about the 2002 Gujarat riots - Godhra and thereafter.

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