As the Aam Aadmi Party prepares for a third victory in Delhi with Arvind Kejriwal sweeping the Delhi Legislative Assembly polls 2020, the mood is one of celebration. While Delhiites rejoice the spectacular hat-trick of the populist AAP government, not all are feeling the amity.
In fact, even as exit polls started to predict an AAP win following polling on Feb 8, many of AAP's opponents including members of the Bharatiya Janata Party began to slam AAP and its supporters for offering and accepting "freebies" in return for votes. And as the results became evident, BJP ministers such as Anil Vij took to Twitter to blast AAP as well as Delhi voters.
Taking to the microblogging site, Vij wrote, "Delhi ke chunnaw mein mudde haar gaye, muftkhori jeet gai" (In Delhi election, issues lost and freebies won".
दिल्ली के चुनाव में मुद्दे हार गए, मुफ्तखोरी जीत गई ।— ANIL VIJ MINISTER HARYANA (@anilvijminister) February 11, 2020
Vij, a cabinet minister in the Haryana government, was referring to the "freebies" or subsidies in electricity and water that AAP offered it its manifesto which also became an important point of debate during the electoral campaign.
Previously, AAP had been criticised by former part-member turned Congress candidate Alka Lamba. In the run up to the election, Lamba in an interview to Hindustan Times had said "Arvind Kejriwal says freebies are his USP. But, if you ask people about it, they would say they don’t want freebies, they want houses, jobs and relief from inflation. They are saying that if he can provide these three things, they will take care of their electricity and water bills,".
BJP Delhi state unit head Manoj Tiwari who was also the front-runner as BJP's CM candidate for Delhi, has also called AAP's decision to give free bus rides to women an "election stunt".
However, despite the BJP and Congress's best efforts, the people of Delhi seem to have chosen populist issues like water and electricity at the city level while voting for the government. Delhi's mood was evident inthe responses that the tweet by Anil Vij, which instantly went viral on social media, generated. One user commented, "are you done? Now come to Haryana and do the job that you are paid to do from the Harayana's taxpayers' money".
इसके तो भाई लोगों करंट का तगड़ा डोज़ लग गया, दिमाग भी काम नही कर रहा है— Balram Singh (@Bro_Balram) February 11, 2020
हो गया ? अब हरियाणा मे आ जाऔ और काम करलो जिसकी तन्खवाह हरियाणा वालों के टैक्स से मिलती है— Anil Parashar (@apparashar) February 11, 2020
देश की जनता को मुफ्तखोर कहते हो, तुम नेताओं को तो सब कुछ फ्री मिलता है, उसका क्या?— Shah Aamir Qureshi (follow ) (@aamirqureshi_) February 11, 2020
ज्यादा बात मत बनाइये। ️— Proud Indian (@16abha16) February 11, 2020
फ्री आवास,शौचालय, गैस,लोन, बिजली,@narendramodi जी ,ने भी दिए पर "जाति प्रमाणपत्र" देख कर।
AK ने फ्री पानी, बिजली,बससेवा, पेंशन दी ......पर सबको.....Gen category को भी।
सबका साथ चाहिए तो सबको फ्री दें, या किसी को नही। #SCSTAct #DelhiElection2020
ले ऑस्कर ओर निकल पहली फुरसत में pic.twitter.com/zRcKYBvdN0— Aamir zaidi (@Aamirza75624691) February 11, 2020
Addressing the issue of freebies and how it impacted the economy, Kejriwal had said prior to the elections that "freebies, in limited dose, are good for economy".
"It makes more money available to poor, hence boosts demand. However, it should be done in such limits so that no extra taxes have to be imposed and it does not lead to budget deficits," Kejriwal had tweeted.