India, June 3 -- It's official. Rookie politician Arvind Kejriwal will take on three-time chief minister Sheila Dikshit in her New Delhi constituency in assembly elections due in November.
The 44-year-old Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) founder has also decided that if Dikshit, 75, decides to avoid a direct contest and changes constituencies, he will do the same and "move to the seat she is contesting from".
Kejriwal made the announcement on Sunday, the same day HT front-paged a report that there was strong speculation of a head-on battle between the two.
An open forum with members of the public was held at the Constitution Club to select a constituency for Kejriwal. While some of those gathered suggested Outer Delhi, since the AAP has a large support base there, others wanted a direct fight with Dikshit. After the final decision, there were shouts of 'Delhi Badlega' and 'Desh Badlega' - and a hint that the AAP might go bigger and fight the 2014 general elections.
Later, Kejriwal went door to door in the Gole Market area to get 100 signatures supporting his candidacy. He will now face the AAP's screening committee and political affairs committee - the rule for all AAP poll candidates.
Having declared all-out war on the Congress, Kejriwal also took on the opposition BJP, accusing it of fielding weak candidates against Dikshit in previous polls. He dared BJP Delhi chief Vijay Goel to contest against him and Dikshit.
"If the BJP is against corruption, I am inviting Vijay Goel to join AAP. They accuse us of being Congress' agent but in reality, they are Congress' agent," he said.
Despite repeated attempts, the CM could not be reached for her comments.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.