Kejriwal itching for direct fight with Dikshit in Delhi polls

Arvind Kejriwal, leader of the recently formed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), on Sunday announced that he would contest directly against Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in her New Delhi constituency in this year's state assembly elections.

Following a party convention, Kejriwal asserted that he would contest against Dikshit as she had "become the symbol of corruption in Delhi". He also slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party as a weak party, with no means to confront the Congress.

"The workers and members of the AAP have decided that I will contest against the Delhi CM. If Sheila Dikshit later decides to contest from another seat, I will also contest from there," Kejriwal said.

The AAP leader also asked Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel to fight elections from the same constituency. "I would also like to challenge Goel to contest the same election with me from the same constituency. We are the main contenders in the upcoming elections," Kejriwal said.

Kejriwal – formerly a key member of Anna Hazare's apolitical anti-corruption movement till he broke away to form a political party - said the AAP stood a better chance of defeating Congress than did the BJP, which has not made any inroads in Delhi for the last 15 years.

After two consecutive wins from the Gole Market constituency in 1998 and 2003, Dikshit shifted to the New Delhi constituency when Gole Market became defunct in the delimitation exercise. In 2008, Dikshit defeated the BJP's Vijay Jolly.

According to AAP, the BJP had deliberately fielded "weak" candidates against Dikshit in the previous elections.

"It is like playing an already fixed match. Everybody knows that the BJP fields weak candidates against Dikshit. But this time it will be a real fight between leaders. Dikshit will have competition," a senior AAP leader said.

Lawyer and AAP leader Prashant Bhushan supported Kejriwal's decision. "The leader who has become symbol of the current political system - Dikshit - should be taken head-on in her own constituency. We want to change the political system of the country, so we will field Kejriwal opposite the personality, who is symbol of this political system," Bhushan said.