Delhi polls: Cheap power, free WiFi in Aam Aadmi Party manifesto

  • Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 01, 2015 07:55 IST

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday released its manifesto, unleashing a slew of promises to woo all sections, including the middle-class that had mostly voted for the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

The party has retained promises such as full statehood to Delhi, slashing of power bills by half, free lifeline water, passing of Jan Lokpal and Swaraj Bills, besides women's safety measures.

But this time it added several new ones such as 20 new colleges, 2 lakh public toilets, 47 fast-track courts, bus marshals, 5,000 new buses, 8 lakh jobs, 30,000 beds in hospitals, and free WiFi across the city.

AAP seems anxious to try and erase the taint of having quit power in just 49 days in its earlier innings marked by sit-ins, conflicts with public utilities and a power struggle with the Centre. "We want a Delhi where every class grows equally," said Kejriwal, who released the manifesto.

Through its 70-point blueprint, it wants to show that the focus is on governance and its leader Arvind Kejriwal was prepared to stay the course if voted to power. AAP repackaged its trademark 'mohalla sabhas' into Delhi Dialogue, moving from crowd-sourcing constituency-wise manifestos to drawing up a broader vision for the whole of Delhi.

Kejriwal said it was a sacred document, prepared after four months of intense research, for his party similar to the "Gita, Bible, Quran, and Guru Granth Sahib".

"During the last elections, we promised cheaper electricity and free water and delivered. This time we needed to move to the next level. We cannot afford to remain a bijli-paani or anti-corruption brigade," said a senior AAP functionary. Kejriwal said the party wanted to make Delhi a trade, tourist, education and service hub, generating more employment.

AAP leader Ashish Khetan, who played a major role in drawing up the plan, denied the party had made too many promises which cannot be kept. "This is an actionable blueprint with clearly identifiable deadlines. We have spent months speaking to experts. We know how to implement these big ideas," he said.

AAP said women's safety would be a main focus area. "When they can install 15,000 CCTV cameras for the US President, why can't we do it for our sisters and mothers? Over 10-15 lakh CCTV cameras will be installed across Delhi," Kejriwal said. The former chief minister took on BJP for not having bothered to release a manifesto, and going for a vision document instead.

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