We erred, people took our call to quit negatively: Arvind Kejriwal

In his first admission that his decision to quit as Delhi chief minister had gone wrong, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal told ET he mistimed the decision to resign, and that mistake meant AAP suffers a communication gap with the people. He said that AAP will have to be more careful in future.

How many AAP MPs do you think will make it to parliament?

It doesn’t matter how many seats we win. We are not targeting a number. What I can say is that we will win the two seats which will change the political discourse of the country, which are Amethi and Varanasi. If BJP wins over 200 seats, but loses Varanasi, do you think that victory will hold any meaning for the party? Similarly, if Congress’s in Amethi will spell doom for its leadership even if it manages to emerge as the single largest party. As for the BJP, I am confident that it will get less than 180 seats. I’ve tried all kind of permutation and combination. Mr Modi is definitely not becoming PM. The 2014 will throw up a fractured mandate and we will have re-elections in a year.

How did you arrive at the 180 figure for the BJP?

I have had many conversations with senior journalists recently. Based on these conversations I tried calculating the number of seats BJP can manage from different states. The most optimistic figure for them is 180 seats.

The Lok Sabha polls in Delhi is the first litmus test of your popularity after you quit government. In hindsight, was quitting government a mistake?

I don’t regret forming the government and quitting on principle. Those decisions were right. The mistake we made was to assume that the people will celebrate our decision to quit on principle. We thought that people would understand our reasons on their own. But it did not happen. There was a communication gap and that gap  was filled by BJP and Congress who told people that we ran away from responsibility. We should not have quit government the same day BJP and Congress blocked the passage of the Jan Lokpal Bill. We should have waited for a few days, held public meetings to explain the rationale behind our decision. We quit suddenly and people could not understand why we did it. It was perceived negatively. We made a mistake on the communication front and we’ll have to be more careful in future.

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