Yogendra Yadav
AAP leader Yogendra Yadav during a press conference in Gurgaon on 12 September, 2014.IANS File

AAP leader Yogendra Yadav claims to be deeply hurt to see leading member of the Anna Hazare brigade Kiran Bedi, and his former party colleague Shazia Ilmi in the BJP. During an interview to The Times of India Yadav said, "BJP has everything today — money, corporate power and media power. When I see Kiranji on stage with BJP, I can't help feel why is my former colleague on that side, on the side of the powerful? Why isn't she fighting with those taking on the powerful?"

On asked whether he felt betrayed, Yadav said, "Betrayed is too strong a word. I feel very bad." Delhi voters, Yadav says, are very aware. "They'll see through the BJP's game in inducting Bedi." The January 10 Modi rally, he says, was a flop. "They couldn't even get 25,000 people. That's why Modi decided he couldn't win Delhi with the present local leadership."

Calling Bedi Modi's insurance policy, the AAP leader said, "If BJP loses, she'll be blamed. It has nothing to do with her worth. If she really wanted to work with Modi, why did she join only 20 days ahead of polls?"

Yadav is also finding it difficult to get over the shock of seeing Shazia in the BJP ranks. "She was always a feminist, totally secular. Now I see her on stage with Amit Shah, a portrait of Veer Savarkar in the background. It's very depressing." He concedes that Shazia's charge of centralisation of power in AAP and the high command culture has some basis. "You can't deliver quick results, build a party and have perfect democratisation at all levels." There's some centralisation of power that Arvind practises but that's the reality of politics, he says. "We've to establish ourselves as a viable party. I am a 20-year wallah, maybe others are not."

He however is confident of winning over the professional middle class once again. "After the 2014 elections, we couldn't enter middle class localities. People didn't want to hear from AAP because Modi's popularity was so high. Now, people want to hear from us again. We're regaining our middle class support," Yadav said.

Yadav also expressed his displeasure over ticket distribution. "There was discontent last time, there was discontent this time, but we have to go by the candidate's integrity because we have very little money. If our candidates don't have integrity how are we different?"

On asked whether the discontent would impact the upcoming Delhi polls, Yogendra Yadav said, "In two states—Delhi and Punjab— AAP has established itself. Every party has discontent over tickets. But which other party has a Lok Pal like we have in Admiral Ramdas? We're the only party with a Lok Pal who decides on these matters and whose word is final."

Yadav also said that AAP's long-term goal was to be the main opposition party to Narendra Modi's BJP.

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