At Burari Speech, Arvind Kejriwal Sticks to Message, Not Modi
When Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took the stage at a rally in Outer Delhi’s Burari, his supporters welcomed him with loud cheers. However, some, who were expecting him to take sharp jibes at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, were left disappointed.
File image of Arvind Kejriwal. (Image: Getty Images)
New Delhi: When Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took the stage at a rally in Outer Delhi's Burari, his supporters welcomed him with loud cheers. However, some, who were expecting him to take sharp jibes at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, were left disappointed.
In a measured, calmer speech, Kejriwal stuck to a message and spoke almost exclusively of the work his government has done in Delhi over the last two years. In his 35-minute-long speech, he did not mention the PM even once.
"If you use 400 units of electricity in Delhi, your bill is Rs 1,370. If you use the same amount of electricity in BJP-ruled Gujarat, your bill will be Rs 2,700. In Congress-ruled Karnataka, the bill is going to be Rs 2,700. In Mumbai, where BJP runs the state government, 400 units of electricity would cost Rs 4, 000," he said.
"During the election, I promised I would slash electricity and water rates. The BJP and Congress people used to make fun of me. They used to say this could not happen. Within the first month, we did what we said," he added. Within the first month, we did what we said," he added.
When he needed to attack the BJP, he chose to target BJP chief Amit Shah rather than his usual target — the PM. "Amit Shah ji, I challenge you. Your party has been in power for the last 15 years in Madhya Pradesh and 10 years in Chhattisgarh. Your party is in power in Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Let's have a debate and compare the work that our respective governments have done. I challenge Amit Shah — if you have the courage, slash power tariffs in Gujarat and Mumbai."
He went on to talk about Mohalla Clinics, government schools in Delhi and new flyovers constructed by the government. "We don't indulge in corruption and don’t let officials do so either. That is why we save a lot of money for the people. We have built five flyovers in just a year. The BJP-ruled MCD has been trying to build a flyover near Rani Jhansi Road since 2006. It's been 11 years. They were supposed to spend Rs 177 crore, but they have already spent Rs 724 crore on it. The flyover has still not been built."
Kejriwal also repeated his poll promise of waiving house tax, eliciting cheers from the audience. "The MCD waived the house tax for Vijay Goel (BJP MP). I want to waive house tax for all my fellow Delhiites. They say the MCD does not have the power to do so. I say we will use the same rules they used to waive the tax for Vijay Goel. If you go to a BJP councilor for some work, they say they don’t have the money. We promise you we will turn the MCD into a profit-making body within a year by simply ending corruption."
A senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader, however, said this was not a conscious call. "This so-called shift was not conscious and was never discussed. We need to understand that the MCD election is about drains, streets and sanitation. It is about local issues so he will obviously speak on local issues. It doesn't make sense to bring the Prime Minister into this. His statement on Amit Shah was a response to what the BJP president had said during a rally at Ramlila Maidan."
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