The Centre has created an “India-Pakistan-like situation” with the Delhi government, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday as his interactive show ‘Talk to AK’ debuted on social media. He also announced the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s intention to contest elections in Gujarat “if the people want”.
‘Talk to AK’ was the top Twitter trend in India between 11am and 3pm as the CM lauded his government’s achievements despite, what he termed, the Narendra Modi government’s non-cooperation.
“The Centre’s aim is to stop work in Delhi, but we won’t stop. The work we are doing for education and women’s security is being hampered because the Centre is not passing bills the Delhi government has sent for clearance. Modiji, don’t create this India-Pakistan-like situation between the state and the Centre. Let us work and we will give you a world-class city. You take all the credit,” Kejriwal said in response to a caller’s query.
Speaking of the poor condition of health and education in other states, he suggested they could learn a thing or two from Delhi’s mohalla (neighbourhood) clinics and its improved education infrastructure.
Taking on the BJP-ruled states in particular, he said he had seen public anger there. “I was in Gujarat earlier this month and saw an atmosphere of suppression. People are being imprisoned and threatened. People are angry and sad. They want change. If the people want, we will contest the Gujarat elections next year.”
“I went to a dispensary in Gujarat at 1pm. On a working day, it was locked. If things can improve in Delhi, they can improve in Gujarat, in Goa and in Chhattisgarh. All you need is the will to work and zero tolerance for corruption,” he said.
To a query on why the Delhi government was spending money on advertisements outside the city, Kejriwal said, “Delhi is the capital of the country and everyone wants to know what is happening here. Every bit of news here gets attention. That is why we advertise in other states. Also, we want to tell investors that Delhi is the place for them.”
Touching on the statehood issue, he said his government was considering an opinion poll. “We can’t do a referendum as it is not permissible in the Constitution, but we want a sort of opinion poll where people can vote.”
On the radical odd-even plan, Kejriwal said the government was thinking about bringing it back in the winter.
The scheme, under which cars with odd and even registration numbers can ply on alternate days, was first implemented last January to improve Delhi’s air quality and reduce traffic congestion. But the jury is out over its effectiveness, with experts saying the second phase of the scheme in April was mostly ineffective in tackling air pollution.
The show, which went a little over two hours, started with a 40-minute monologue on the government’s achievements and the problems it faced. This was followed by Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia taking questions via Twitter and Facebook, text message and on phone from callers in Delhi, Punjab, Kerala and Hyderabad.
The next episode of ‘Talk to AK’ is expected next month.