Ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections due later this year, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said he will visit the state every week to interact with the public on various issues like corruption and farming, and claimed it was possible to provide free electricity to people if they bring an “honest party” to power in the state. The Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) 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 with a solution to Gujarat’s electricity problem,” Kejriwal said during a town hall organised on the issue of electricity.
When some members of the general public 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. Kejriwal said if Gujarat ministers can enjoy zero electricity bills despite consuming thousands of units, then why not the general public. If farmers in Gujarat are supplied electricity at night, then ministers should also be given the opportunity to work at night for some time at the secretariat, he said during the town hall, referring to an issue raised by a farmer that power supply for agriculture at night adversely affects their life. Kejriwal, without naming anyone, also accused 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 said 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,” the Delhi CM said. “We provide subsidies to the public after saving money on corruption, which is why they are enjoying free electricity. When we managed to do so in Delhi, the BJP and Congress said this cannot be done in a larger state, so we won in Punjab,” he said.
He claimed that 73 per cent of the people in Delhi get zero electricity bill. In Punjab, where the scheme was introduced from July 1, it will be around 80 per cent, he added.