IANS Interview: 2025 Delhi polls will see direct fight between BJP & Cong, says Adarsh Shastri 

Adarsh Shastri, the grandson of former Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislator spoke exclusively to IANS on the string of issues ranging from Arvind Kejriwal and AAP’s alleged dalliance with Khalistani separatists, Swati Maliwal assault case, people’s mandate in ongoing elections and more.

IANS Interview: 2025 Delhi polls will see direct fight between BJP & Cong, says Adarsh Shastri 
Source: IANS

New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Adarsh Shastri, the grandson of former Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislator spoke exclusively to IANS on the string of issues ranging from Arvind Kejriwal and AAP’s alleged dalliance with Khalistani separatists, Swati Maliwal assault case, people’s mandate in ongoing elections and more.


Sharing his sharp observation on the INDIA alliance, the Congress leader said that this was a coalition of compulsion and will not survive for long.

“2025 Delhi polls will see a direct fight between BJP and Congress as AAP will be nowhere in the picture,” Adarsh Shastri told IANS.

Here is the full interview:

IANS: You were part of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for a long time. When you left the party, you said that Arvind Kejriwal is a 'dictator.' You also accused him of selling tickets for Rs 10-20 crore. How do you see the situation today?

Adarsh Shastri: When I left my job at Apple and joined politics, I believed Arvind Kejriwal was genuinely committed to honest politics, in contrast to what was the practice at the time. As the grandson of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, I wanted to support those on a righteous path.

I contested from the Dwarka Assembly constituency but soon felt suffocated. The so-called democracy within AAP was never practised and dissenting voices were suppressed. The moral compass was missing in Kejriwal and AAP's ideology.

Now, the entire country sees the corruption I witnessed, be it the liquor policy scam, the Delhi Jal Board scam or selling Rajya Sabha and other tickets. If AAP had followed the honesty it preached, many like me would still be with them.

IANS: When AAP and Congress were forming an alliance, didn't you suggest that this would negatively affect Congress?

Adarsh Shastri: Every leader in Delhi Congress voiced concerns that the alliance would not benefit us. AAP always accused Congress of corruption, demonstrated against our prominent leaders like Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi and it was the same party which unseated Congress from power in Delhi, on the back of a fake narrative.

Despite opposition, the high command felt that the situation was such that the alliance was necessary in the fight against BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

IANS: Is this why many Congress leaders maintained a distance, and some even left the party?

Adarsh Shastri: I can't comment on individual choices. However, leaving the party in difficult times was inappropriate. Joining hands with AAP negatively impacts Congress.

However, I am confident our three candidates in Delhi will win by a large margin unlike some AAP candidates, be it the West Delhi candidate or others, I don't think they will be able to leave their mark on the public.

IANS: You talked about Congress candidates. The party has candidates like Kanhaiya Kumar, who joined Congress after leaving Left and Udit Raj, who joined after leaving BJP. Does this indicate a lack of trust in long-standing party members?

Adarsh Shastri: Kanhaiya Kumar has been a student politician, and now he is working very hard towards Congress' resolve to save the country, so I am very proud that the party has chosen him.

Meanwhile, Udit Raj has been fighting for the backward section for quite some time and I think that the BJP did not give him the respect he deserved and disheartened by this, he joined Congress.

IANS: Will the AAP-Congress alliance continue in future Assembly elections?

Adarsh Shastri: I don't think the alliance should continue beyond the Lok Sabha elections. Assembly elections in Delhi are scheduled in six months and Congress should re-establish itself, as it was during Sheila Dikshit's tenure.

Everyone in the Delhi Congress wants this alliance to end. The 2025 Assembly elections will be a direct fight between Congress and BJP, and a Congress Chief Minister will be formed. AAP will pose no challenge.

IANS: What are your expectations for the Lok Sabha election results?

Adarsh Shastri: I believe the INDIA bloc will secure record seats, limiting BJP and PM Modi to 200-230 seats.

IANS: What is your take on Swati Maliwal's assault case?

Adarsh Shastri: It's saddening that a party which once championed women's security now faces such incidents and more so, at its CM's residence.

Party members, who were once my colleagues are defending Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Bibhav Kumar, showing that political standards have stooped so low that the party members are siding with Kejriwal, rather than the victim.

IANS: Did you meet Bibhav Kumar? What was his personality like?

Adarsh Shastri: I met him when I was an MLA. He used to work as Kejriwal's eyes and ears, as his gatekeeper, controlling access and communication. He worked as a committed aide in pushing the agenda of ‘megalomaniac’ Kejriwal.

IANS: Do you think Sunita Kejriwal was behind the incident with Swati Maliwal?

Adarsh Shastri: I think that whatever happened with Swati Maliwal, Kejriwal must have been aware of it, as he was still at home, and it is not possible that someone comes to your house and you are not aware of it. I can't comment on his family's involvement.

IANS: Arvind Kejriwal demonstrated against Congress over the Nirbhaya case. How do you view his silence over Maliwal's case now?

Adarsh Shastri: It's painful that Kejriwal, who invoked Nirbhaya for the sake of political gains, remains silent on such incidents in his home. The Nirbhaya fund, formed for women's security then, is underutilised by AAP today, only 10-15 per cent has been allocated.

IANS: Do you think what happened with Swati can also happen with Atishi in future?

Adarsh Shastri: Everything that comes out of this situation is that they (AAP) don't honour women. All women and people should be alert and decide their course of action. The hypocrisy of Kejriwal has driven away many honest people from his party.

IANS: Rahul Gandhi also interacted with women in Delhi. Do you think that he should discuss Maliwal's case with Arvind Kejriwal?

Adarsh Shastri: He will definitely do it. I know that Rahul Gandhi and Congress always protect women's honour. He will address this issue because 'nyay' (justice) for women is a priority in our manifesto.

IANS: Do you think Arvind Kejriwal is personally corrupt?

Adarsh Shastri: As Chief Minister, nothing happens without his knowledge. Regarding the liquor policy scam, saying that he doesn't have a portfolio or he doesn't sign files is ridiculous. His denial of involvement in alleged scams is implausible.

He claimed that he wouldn’t live in a government bungalow nor avail high-level security. Today, he lives luxuriously in a house worth crores, with hundreds of security guards. If a person like him talks about honesty, then he feels hollow.

How can so many people, including Mahatma Gandhi's grandson Raj Mohan Gandhi, Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan, Founder of Air Deccan Gopinath, Infosys co-founder Gopikrishnan, Medha Patkar, Meera Sanyal, Kumar Vishwas and Swati Maliwal be against one person, everyone cannot be wrong and dishonest.

IANS: Does Kejriwal have links with Khalistanis?

Adarsh Shastri: When I was an AAP MLA, I also handled the Overseas Department with Kumar Vishwas. During visits to Canada and Germany, we went to Gurudwaras, which financially supported AAP, but those places had photos of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and those involved in Operation Blue Star, who were killed by our security forces.

It felt wrong to seek financial help from people praising terrorists. Kumar Vishwas and I raised this concern with the CM, but we were ignored. You can draw your own conclusions from this.

IANS: Where does the funding for Kejriwal's party come from?

Adarsh Shastri: This question should be directed at Kejriwal. However, the party that claimed it would avoid black money is now receiving funds through electoral bonds, big businessmen, and various scams like the liquor policy and the Delhi Jal Board scam.

IANS: On one hand, Arvind Kejriwal along with others are said to be involved in liquor scams, while on the other, they claimed that they worked in the field of education and introduced free bus travel for women. How do you see these things?

Adarsh Shastri: Kejriwal's government is about the advertisements. Under Sheila Dikshit, Delhi had about 1,000 schools and 40-42 hospitals, the numbers remain the same.

The much-publicised Mohalla Clinics have dwindled to only 300-400. Many schools lack principals and teachers.

When people were dying in Delhi because of Covid-19, these people were hiding in their homes. Their governance is more about marketing than actual work.

IANS: Is Congress adhering to Lal Bahadur Shastri's teachings and ideology?

Adarsh Shastri: Lal Bahadur Shastri followed Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Today, if anyone is advocating for the poor, labourers, women, and the backward sections, it is Rahul Gandhi and the Congress.

IANS: What is your view on reservations and the accusation that the Congress manifesto reflects the Muslim League's agenda?

Adarsh Shastri: This is a false narrative pushed by PM Modi. Congress's manifesto aims to help those with fewer resources to move forward, reflecting a commitment to lifting the poor out of poverty.

IANS: Has AAP addressed addiction problems in Punjab as promised?

Adarsh Shastri: When I visited Punjab, it was clear that those who voted for AAP were very unhappy. The drug problem is at its peak, severely affecting the youth.

Punjab has always contributed significantly to the country. The public can now see through AAP's failures and are set to vote for Congress.