This is how Arvind Kejriwal plans to topple Narendra Modi’s BJP in Gujarat
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal (Photo: PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images).
HE is looking to win power in the third state after winning Delhi and Punjab and recent developments suggest that Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal is confident that his party would do something special in the western state of Gujarat, the home state of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been in power in Gujarat for more than two decades now with Modi himself serving as the chief minister between 2001 and 2014 when he became the prime minister. The coastal state will go to its next assembly polls later this year.
On Monday (4), Kejriwal said he would pay visit to Gujarat every week to interact with people on various issues ranging from corruption and agriculture and claimed it would be possible to give free electricity to people if they voted an “honest party” to power in the state.
The AAP’s national convener said his party has shown in Delhi and Punjab that they stick to their promise.
“Gujarat can also get cheap, free, 24-hour electricity, but the condition is only one, and that is you will have to change the politics, government, and bring in an honest party…I will be back on Sunday (10) with a solution to Gujarat’s electricity problem,” Kejriwal said during a town hall organised in Ahmedabad in Gujarat on the issue of electricity.
When some people raised various issues affecting them, the AAP leader said he will discuss them separately.
“Today, we should discuss electricity. We will discuss other issues as well. I will visit Gujarat every week and hold ‘jan samvad’ (public dialogue) on the issues of corruption, agriculture, MSP (minimum support price),” he said.
The AAP leader asked if the ministers of Gujarat could enjoy zero electricity bills despite consuming thousands of units of power, why not the state’s general people.
If the farmers in Gujarat are supplied electricity at night, the ministers should also be given the opportunity to work for some time in the night at the secretariat, he said during the town hall, referring to an issue raised by a farmer that electricity supply for agriculture at night adversely affects their life.
Kejriwal, without naming anyone, accused the BJP leaders of lying by claiming that there are no power cuts in Gujarat.
He said a “very big leader” from Gujarat said people of the state do not want anything for free.
“First you give up free electricity…,” Kejriwal said.
“They are scared that if people are provided free electricity, then they will have no money left to loot,” he said.
Kejriwal added the “magic” behind their ability to provide free electricity is their clean conscience and honesty.
“We do not ask for money from power companies, we improve them, we work in the interest of the public. Other parties seek donations for elections from such companies, but we do not seek donations. You are our donation,” he said.
Sharing the experience of Delhi where the AAP government provides free electricity up to 200 units, Kejriwal said as soon as his party assumed office, power companies were warned not to raise the unit rates.
“We said we have nothing to do if you gave money to former governments, but our government is honest, we will not ask for a single penny from you. But, you should not raise the electricity rates. They have not raised the rate in the last seven years,” Kejriwal, who is serving his third stint as the chief minister and continuously since 2015, said.
Gujarat has mainly seen a two-party political model in play with the BJP and the Indian National Congress. However, the AAP has recently made forays in the civic elections and many see him as the next big challenger to the BJP, replacing the Congress.