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Oct 22, 2012 at 02:05pm IST

Debate with my aide Kumar Vishwas: Arvind Kejriwal dares Digvijaya Singh

New Delhi: Activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal on Monday snubbed Digvijaya Singh, saying he would send his aide Kumar Vishwas to debate with the Congress general secretary if party president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh won't join him for a public debate on corruption. After Kejriwal challenged the PM and Sonia Gandhi for a debate, Digvijaya had responded saying Kejriwal should first debate with him. "We accept Digvijaya Singh's offer for public debate. Kumar Vishwas will participate from our side," he said.

Earlier, Congress on its part dismissed Kejriwal’s challenge, saying even block-level leaders of the party can tear him down over his "insinuations and allegations cacophony". Kejriwal said IAC will answer questions raised against it only after Congress leadership and Robert Vadra come clean on charges of corruption.

After Congress leader Digvijaya Singh posed questions to Kejriwal on funding of his NGO and other issues, the activist hit back saying he was willing to reply to all queries but Singh should first convice Prime Minister Singh and others to answer issues raised by the people. "We had put some questions to Robert Vadra and the Prime Minister. Let them answer first. Then, we will answer all questions from Digvijay Singh. I request Singh to encourage Mrs Gandhi, Prime Minister or Rahul Gandhi to come for a public debate.

"Let's question each other and let public question us on personal and public issues. Is Digvijaya Singh ready? If he cannot convince his party bosses or the PM, then people would think he is doing all this for cheap publicity and to divert attention," Kejriwal said on Sunday.

He said the leadership did not answer questions on Vadra or Lokpal and he wants Singh to get the answers from the Prime Minister, Vadra and Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. "They can ask us any number of questions about our personal life, we will answer. Then we will ask them...they should also answer in public," he said.

Kejriwal's challenge was dismissed by the Congress and Digvijaya Singh. "Any of our block level spokespersons are more than enough to deal with this insinuations and allegations cacophony," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said. Digvijaya Singh said Kejriwal cannot compare himself with the prime minister of the country and dared the activist for an "open" debate with him. Singh also reminded him that he was a chief minister for 10 years.

Kejriwal accepted Digvijay Singh's challenge to the IAC for a public debate. "We accept Digvijaya Singh's offer for public debate. Kumar Vishwas will participate from our side," he said. Vishwas is Kejriwal's close associate. "Now it’s time to enter battlefield. Be fully prepared Digvijaya Singh because now the fight will be in people's court," Vishwas said.

Union Minister and Congress leader Harish Rawat also dismissed Kejriwal's challenge. "They are just playing politics. If he (PM) starts answering all the questions then we will need two PMs one to solve the problems and look after the nation and others for answering questions," he added.

(With additional inputs from PTI)

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