Kejriwal says wife Sunita has no interest in politics, will not contest elections in future

Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal in an interview with PTI, in New Delhi, Wednesday, May 22, 2024.
Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal in an interview with PTI, in New Delhi, Wednesday, May 22, 2024.

New Delhi | Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal made it clear on Wednesday that his wife Sunita is not likely to contest elections in the future, saying she has no interest in active politics even though she came out aggressively in public after his arrest.

In an interview to PTI, Kejriwal spoke at length on a variety of subjects, including the "humiliation" he suffered during his incarceration, accusations against him, what his family is going through and the prospects of the opposition INDIA bloc in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

"In every stage of my life, Sunita has supported me. I am fortunate to have a partner like her. To tolerate an eccentric person like me is not easy," Kejriwal said.

He recalled that in 2000 he took leave from his job as an income tax commissioner to work in Delhi's slums, and then resigned to devote himself full time to the social work.

"At that time I had no inkling that I would become a chief minister or set up a party, contest elections. I was just driven and worked for 10 years. Even then she supported me. Think what she must have gone through then!" he said.

Kejriwal was arrested on March 21 in connection with a money laundering case and alleged irregularities linked to the Delhi government's liquor excise policy from 2021 to 2022. He was released on interim bail on May 10 to campaign for his Aam Aadmi Party in the ongoing general elections.

Soon after he was arrested, Sunita Kejriwal, also a former income tax officer, took the political centre stage of the party. She read out Kejriwal's message from jail, conducted road shows and gave speeches at opposition rallies.

Asked if she will continue her political role, Kejriwal replied, "When I was arrested, she was a bridge between me and Delhi's residents. It was a temporary phase. She has no interest in active politics. In future also, it is not like she will contest elections."

On whether Sunita Kejriwal will continue his work once he is back in jail, the chief minister answered, "We will approach court to be provided facilities in jail so that I can continue my work as chief minister of Delhi."

Kejriwal described his wife as a brave and strong woman, adding his two children are also becoming strong and brave.

No intention of becoming PM if INDIA bloc wins, AAP small party contesting just 22 seats: Kejriwal

New Delhi | Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said he has no "intention" of becoming the next prime minister of the country if the INDIA bloc wins the Lok Sabha polls, saying his aim was to save the country and democracy from the prevailing "dictatorship".

In an interview to PTI Videos, the AAP national convener also alleged that if the BJP comes back to power, all opposition leaders will be in jail and it will hijack the elections.

Kejriwal said the opposition INDIA bloc's prime minister will be decided after the results of the Lok Sabha polls are announced on June 4.

He said he felt the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc was gradually inching towards the 300 mark. "It will form the government on its own. The alliance will give a good, stable government," he added.

The AAP convener said he has no intention of becoming the next prime minister of the country.

"I have no such intention. We (AAP) are a very small party contesting only 22 seats," he said when asked if he considered himself a PM face of the INDIA bloc.

Asked if he will accept Rahul Gandhi as prime minister of the country, Kejriwal replied, "There has been no such discussion. It's a theoretical question. We will discuss it when we sit together."

Without naming the BJP, the Delhi chief minister said, "The current Lok Sabha polls were for saving the country and democracy from the prevailing dictatorship."

They will finish democracy if they come back to power, he said. "Elections will not be held and even if it takes place it will happen as in Russia. Putin either sent the entire opposition to jail or finished them and then held elections and got 87 per cent votes."

Kejriwal also cited the example of Pakistan to drive his point home.

In Pakistan, Imran Khan was sent to jail and his party and symbol were snatched, he claimed.

"They (BJP) will also do it... will send AAP (leaders) in jail, Mamata Banerjee in jail. No one will be left out. All will be in jail and then they will keep on winning elections.

"The concern of all right now is that they will not spare anyone," he said when asked on the absence of a PM face of the INDIA bloc.

The AAP convener asserted that he expected the opposition alliance to sweep Delhi by winning all the seven Lok Sabha seats.

"There is such a wave of AAP and INDIA bloc that I would not be surprised that the previous records of Vidhan Sabha polls in which we (AAP) won 67 seats (in 2015) and 62 seats (in 2020) are broken this time," he said.

Kejriwal, who was granted interim bail in a money laundering case by the Supreme Court on May 10, said his arrest and incarceration was a sentimental issue for Delhi voters that will cause losses to the BJP.

There was "tremendous anger" among the people who felt a "good man" was arrested, Kejriwal said.

"We are hearing about dictatorship and people saying that they have to vote against this dictatorship. This sentiment is very strong," he added.

He termed his release from jail as a "miracle of god" that has now energised the people.

"When I go for campaigning, people have moist eyes."

The AAP chief said he was sent to jail by the BJP, which thought it would disintegrate his party but the opposite happened.

"They (BJP) thought after my arrest, the campaign will be affected and our party will disintegrate, MLAs will break away and the government will topple. But the opposite happened. Our party became more unified, our leadership worked like a family and our workers were encouraged to work harder when they saw their leader was in jail," he said.

Kejriwal said AAP has plans to expand further in many states but was presently preoccupied with saving democracy.

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