The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) performed beyond its own expectations in Punjab and states like Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh are "looking promising" for the party, Arvind Kejriwal told NDTV in an exclusive interview today.
Amid talk about AAP aiming to replace the Congress as the country's main opposition party, the Delhi Chief Minister, however, sidestepped a question on whether he planned to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2024 national election.
"Arvind Kejriwal for PM" has been his party's favourite theme, even during the recent Punjab election, in which AAP decimated the Congress and the Akali Dal.
"Everything is on Janata (people). The people are supreme," he replied.
Mr Kejriwal was asked whether he would take on PM Modi in the 2024 election, like he did in 2014, when he contested against him from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
"Har samay alag, har time alag (That time was different)," he said, non-committal.
Does he believe he can defeat PM Modi?
"My life's agenda is not to defeat Modi. My only purpose is to take the country ahead, wherever we come into power," he replied.
Did AAP exceed his own expectation in Punjab?
"Definitely," Mr Kejriwal replied on AAP scooping its second state after Delhi in the February-March state elections.
"People were fed up of the Congress and the Akali Dal. And people had heard of the positive changes in Delhi and wanted the same in Punjab. So it was a mix of positive energy and negative energy and there was a bhuchal (earthquake)," he said.
AAP, he said, was no longer just a party. "It is an ideology, a means of making India the Number 1 country in the world."
He continued: "In 75 years this country was kept poor and illiterate. People are angry. All parties looted the country. We have the confidence now - if we can fix Delhi in five years then the country can be fixed too."
AAP was like a gust of fresh air in a system steeped in corruption, he remarked.
On reports that the eight-year-old party is now prepping for its debut in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, where elections are due later this year, the AAP chief had a cautious response.
"It is early days for both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, but both states are looking promising for AAP," said Mr Kejriwal, who held a roadshow yesterday in Himachal Pradesh along with Bhagwant Mann, the new Chief Minister of Punjab.
The Delhi Chief Minister, when asked whether he was ready for alliances to fight the BJP, said his mission was "not to defeat the BJP" but to deliver good governance and change the system.
"My aim has never been to see how we can defeat the BJP. I am sure many parties think like that. My aim is to see that this country is the world's number 1. People liked our positive agenda," he said.
"Wherever we can convince the people about our positive agenda for change, they will bring us to power."