Kejriwal makes vain bid to explain his Lalu hug

AAP leader insists that the party’s crusade against corruption is unwavering

GN Bureau | November 23, 2015



The image of him embracing Lalu Prasad Yadav having gone viral is surely a matter of embarrassment for Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. Today he sought to explain the hug of the man who has been convicted in a corruption case.

"I go to Rashtrapati Bhawan. All party leaders come there. They meet us. In Nitish Kumar's swearing in Lalu Yadav was on the stage. He shook hand and pulled me and hugged me. And held my hand and raised it. It was projected and questions were asked. We have not formed an alliance. We are against his record of corruption and we'll always oppose it," Kejriwal said.

Defending his anti-graft credentials, Kejriwal said that AAP worked "against BJP" during the Bihar assembly polls and supported the chief ministerial candidature of Nitish Kumar. He termed the JD(U) leader as a "good person" and someone who has done "good work".

The AAP chief made the remarks at the party's National Council meet here. Kejriwal said he was against dynasty politics and the fact that Lalu's "two sons are ministers. We are against that too."

"I am happy that questions are being asked. Questions are being asked because people have hope, because they think we are different. Nobody asks questions when other leader hug Lalu ji, it's good for us," Kejriwal added.

The Delhi Chief Minister faced flak from various quarters for hugging Lalu, a convict in the fodder scam, at the oath- taking ceremony of Kumar on November 2O. Expelled AAP leader Yogendra Yadav described it as a "shameful" act.

Yadav, said it was not mere hugging, but the defeat of ideals to form a bloc against the BJP. "Political capital of the movement sold to symbols of political corruption.Ashamed!" Kejriwal was criticised even on social media with many even posting a tweet of his that he wrote in October 2013.

"Laloo made crores in fodder scam. But no order for recovery of that money. Just 25 lakh fine and few years in jail. A sweet deal," the Delhi CM had tweeted.

"This was projected and questions were asked. We have not formed an alliance (with RJD)," the Aam Aadmi Party founder leader said. "We are against his record of corruption, and we'll always oppose it.

"We are against his dynasty politics. His two sons are ministers. We are against that too."

But Kejriwal was unfazed by the criticism he faced on the social media in particular over his Lalu hug.

"I am happy that questions are being asked. Questions are being asked because people have hope (in AAP), because they think we are different.

"Nobody asks (these) questions when other leaders hug Laluji. This is good for us," he said.
 
Kejriwal defended his backing to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

"I went to Bihar. Nitish is a good person. People have told us that Nitish has done good work. We worked against the BJP there and supported him."

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