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Sinha, Kejriwal share stage, say people will set the course for future

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday that the next election will be between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the people of the country, a view which senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha seemed to share.

The two leaders shared stage at the release of book “Tidings of Troubled Times” written by Congress leader Manish Tewari and said ideology and values of a political party matter much more than personalities.

Answering queries during the discussion following the release of book by Sinha, Kejriwal said the next general election will be a battle between Modi and the people.

“What I am able to see is that 2019 election will be fought by the people, not parties. This battle will be between their leader (Modi) and the people. Whether opposition parties will come together or not, that is arithmetic. That is also necessary in electoral politics but a churning is taking place.

“The coming election will not be opposition versus BJP. It will be BJP versus the rest of the country,” he said.

The Aam Aadmi Party leader said a man can leave taking food once a day but cannot compromise with his freedom.

“You cannot imagine the atmosphere of fear that is prevailing among people. Across the board traders, industralists are living in fear. There is fear in stock market. Across the board people are scared that there will be a notice, income tax, ED people will come.”

Sinha backed Kejriwal’s remark about people shaping politics in the run up to 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

“I will like to take you to remark that Arvind Kejriwalji made that sometimes the people take over and the people decide what is best for the country. I think we will have to give people a chance.”

Sinha also hit back at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over his reference to him as “job applicant at 80” and also disagreed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assessment in a speech on Wednesday about the fundamentals of the economy.

Answering a query that if BJP takes action against him, Sinha said “that will be the best day of my life” but added that he had done nothing that can call for such an action.

Sinha, whose article slamming the government’s management of economy besides demonetisation and GST roll out has triggered a debate, said he had given his “sweat and blood” for the BJP and termed the present personality-oriented politics as “a passing phase”.

Asked the way forward for him, Sinha said: “I can’t answer that question as yet because you are not acting in isolation. The context is something that I don’t control. The context is controlled by circumstances. At this point I want to say, nothing has been worked out.

He said more people should speak their mind.

“I am already feeling satisfied that a debate has started and I will feel more satisfied if more and more people were to pick up courage and say what they feel. That will be the real satisfaction.”

In his remarks earlier, Sinha referred to Modi’s speech in which he had mentioned of Shalya, a character from Mahabharata and struck back virtually comparing Modi and BJP President Amit Shah duo with the eldest Kaurava brothers Duryodhana and Dushasan.

Urging the people to “stand up” to save the great tradition of parliamentary democracy, he said that “darr” (fear) and democracy don’t go together.

“Mahabharata has been the flavour of the last couple of days… And characters from Mahabharta have suddenly appeared. Some people are talking about Shalya. I don’t know how much they know about Shalya.

“In Mahabharata, there are two famous characters — Duryodhana and Dushsana. The Kauravas were 100 brothers. Out of them only two became famous, Duryodhana and Dushasana,” Sinha said, leaving the audience in splits.

Sinha said democracy is not merely numbers and its soul was consensus.