Treat assembly polls as another freedom struggle: Kejriwal to party volunteers

(Eds: Combining related stories and adding more details) New Delhi, Oct 16 (PTI) Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday urged the party volunteers to treat the assembly elections as another freedom struggle, saying his party is the "only ray of hope" in the present political scenario in the country.Kejriwal, who kick-started preparations for the polls due early next year with meetings with party volunteers in Dwarka, said they have to win all the 70 seats in the national capital.He urged them to treat the assembly elections as another "freedom struggle"."Don't fight the upcoming elections for Aam Aadmi Party or for Kejriwal. Fight these elections with the spirit as that of a freedom struggle as the AAP is the only ray of hope in the current political scenario in the country," Kejriwal told the volunteers."Five years ago the party did not expect to win. We had no money. The government was formed due to your hard work. This began to change the politics within the country," said the chief minister.He said the hope that AAP brought will "die" if the party loses in the polls."All the benefits that we provided to the people will be rolled back if we lose the elections," he said at the meeting.Breaking his silence on his cancelled Denmark visit, Kejriwal claimed that the reality of the BJP was exposed in front of the world when the Centre did not allow him to travel to the country for a climate conference.Kejriwal was not be able to attend the C-40 Climate Summit in Denmark on October 11 after the Ministry of External Affairs refused political clearance to his visit. He later addressed it through a video link.Addressing party volunteers in his first closed-door meeting ahead of assembly polls, Kejriwal claimed their work gained more popularity when they were not allowed to visit Denmark."BJP did not let me go but I was happy that the organiser asked me to participate through video conferencing. This is not my pride but pride of you people (volunteers)," he said, according to a video shared by the AAP.These are the first comments made by Kejriwal over cancellation of his visit to Denmark. Earlier, the AAP hit out at the Centre for denying permission to Kejriwal.The Centre defended its decision to deny permission to Kejriwal to attend the summit, saying it was meant for "mayor-level" participants.But Kejriwal hit back, saying that their mayors were not invited for such conferences."I heard a BJP leader say that what will Kejriwal do in a mayors conference but he does not understand that their mayors are not invited for such conferences only," he said.He said, in a similar manner, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Health Minister Satyender Jain, too, were not allowed to travel outside the country."The world is talking about us. The whole world came to know what kind of party BJP is and we are being lauded around the world for our work," he said.Quoting Anna Hazare, with whom he had worked during the 2001 anti-corruption movement, Kejriwal said the social activist used to say that 'do not get impacted by personal attacks'.Kejriwal advised his volunteers to follow Hazare's advice."If I start worrying about what the Opposition says about me everyday then I will slip into depression in 24 hours. Do not get rattled by personal attacks but ensure that you protect the honour of the country at any cost," he said.Starting and ending his address with the chants of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai and Inquilab Zindabad', Kejriwal promised his volunteers that till he is alive he will ensure that no corruption takes place either in his party or in the Delhi government.The meeting in Dwarka was first of the 14 meetings Kejriwal is to hold with party volunteers.Kejriwal said his daughter has also taken leave from work and joined his movement."My daughter works in a large MNC. Even she has taken a leave for five months and is volunteering in my constituency. People are ask her why she is working so hard for her father's seat, his victory is a foregone conclusion. She said that she was not volunteering for me, but she was there to ensure her contribution to this movement," he said.He said he did not take donations from large companies, that's why he was able to reduce electricity prices."Today, Delhi has the cheapest electricity. We did not contest elections with donations from the large companies and hence these companies could not dictate the power prices to us. The private school fees did not increase because we did not accept donations from private schools. Today, volunteers of Aam Aadmi Party are looked at with respect in Delhi. The Tirth Yatra, 3 lakh CCTV camera installation, 200 units of free electricity, two lakh streetlights are all things that have never happened anywhere in the world," he said.Over the next week, Kejriwal will visit every district of the party unit and interact with all volunteers. On Wednesday, two district meetings were held in West Delhi Lok Sabha, one for Najafgarh district at Dwarka and another for Tilak Nagar district at Janakpuri.Earlier on Wednesday, Kejriwal also launched an app to connect directly with people and his volunteers and tackle "fake news" that is spread against it. PTI UZM ABHABH