Don't make fun of AAP: Ramesh to political class

Don't make fun of AAP: Ramesh to political class

Union minister Jairam Ramesh today asked the political class not to make fun of Aam Aadmi Party and warned them that the newbie can take different avatars in states on the "legitimate issues" it had been raising.

The Congress leader also said that Communists are the only political groups in the country that are free from the "diseases" like lavish lifestyle and "vulgar display of wealth".

"We cannot ignore Aam Aadmi Party... Because what they are agitating about-- corruption, austerity in politics, simplicity in politics-- these are legitimate values," the Rural Development Minister said.

"Today Congress party is thinking about it (AAP). But the BJP has already lost its sleep due to Aam Aadmi Party. Prakash Karat is saying we are the Aam Aadmi Party. If Badals (in Punjab) don't mend their ways, then Aam Aadmi Party will also eat up the Akali Dal. AAP is like Dashavatar. In different states it can have different avatars," said Ramesh, who is also a key Congress strategist.

His statement came two days after his Cabinet colleague Manish Tewari took a dig at Arvind Kejriwal's party saying other political parties should not be too worried, frustrated and disappointed with its success because several parties have come and became history soon and AAP will soon disappear from the Indian political landscape.
Tewari had also rejected Ramesh's comment that other parties should learn from AAP, saying that the comment was his own opinion and not the Congress view.

"Don't make fun of them. Making fun of them would be proved wrong," Ramesh said.
In an apparent reference to the Congress' defeat mainly at the hands of AAP in the Delhi Assembly polls, he said, "If we had brought Lokpal Bill two years ago, we wouldn't have been facing the problems we are."

Talking to reporters here, the Congress leader showered praises on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, CPI(M) leaders, particularly Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and BJP's Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar for their simple life style.

Ramesh said Communist parties have "lunatic economics" but when it comes to austerity, simplicity and integrity, they get 10 out of 10.

Citing the austere lifestyle of Defence Minister A K Antony, he said that in Congress party also there are lots of people who lead simple lifestyle.

Noting that people want simplicity and austerity, he said politicians should be like anybody else.

He recalled the AICC norms set out for Congress leaders by party chief Sonia Gandhi 11 years ago.

"She set out a code of conduct. It was a code of conduct sent to all Congress chief ministers, all AICC members. We have a code of conduct... She is the only political leader who spoke about ostentatious marriages," Ramesh said.

He said that "marriages in India are obscene and political weddings particularly are obscene" and vulgar display of wealth.

"This is among the reasons behind movements like the Aam Aadmi Party's," Ramesh said.

"The Aam Aadmi Party is a wake up call to all political parties. It is not a wake up call only to Congress, BJP... It is a wake up call to entire political class, the political establishment. I am not a great fan of Aam Aadmi Party.

"I am not sure whether they will be able to run a government. But they have changed the political discourse in our country. And they have created a space for people who cannot come into established political parties to join politics," he said.

When asked what is his advice to Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal, Ramesh said he has generated hopes among the people so he should capitalise on this.

"My advice to Kejriwal now is to promise less and just focus on governance. You just focus. You got a mandate. You got goodwill (of the people)," the Union minister said.

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