Nine days after he pulled the plug on his government in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal kicked off the Aam Aadmi Party’s Lok Sabha campaign in Rohtak on Sunday with a blistering attack on both the BJP and Congress, calling Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi agents of Mukesh Ambani.
Aam Admi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal addresses rally in Rohtak, Haryana (Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times)
Addressing a crowd of 10,000 people in the Congress citadel of Rohtak, he also accused Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda of acting like a “property dealer” and “gifting away land to Ambani and Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra”. Taking on the CM in his home town, Kejriwal — who was born in the state’s Bhiwani district and studied in Hisar — said he’d read on the net that the Hooda government had sold farm land to Reliance at Rs. 22 lakh per acre which the company later sold at Rs. 1-2 crore per acre.
“Mukesh Ambani has Modi in one pocket and Rahul in the other... whoever is in power, Modi or Rahul, it’s Ambani who will run this country. We have to stop the rule of Ambani, which is like the East India Company,” he said.
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Raking up the gas pricing issue, the AAP chief said, “I have written to both (Modi and Rahul) and asked them how much they will pay Ambani if their government comes to power, but they have not replied.” During his 49-day tenure as Delhi CM, Kejriwal had ordered an FIR against the Reliance chairman and oil minister M Veerappa Moily among others, accusing them of manipulating gas prices so that Ambani could make huge profits.
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Accusing Modi and Rahul of leading expensive campaigns and questioning the source of the money, he said, “I have filed an FIR against Mukesh Ambani and I want to ask him how many planes he has. Now, if he gives you his planes and helicopters, will the gas price become $16?”
Taking note of Modi’s promise to bring back black money stashed abroad, Kejriwal said, “Modiji, I’m giving out the Swiss bank account numbers of the Ambanis (Mukesh and brother Anil). Will you get the money from their accounts if your government came to power?”
In defence of his actions as Delhi CM, Kejriwal compared himself to former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri, saying he’d resigned on principle the same way Shastri had quit as railway minister on moral grounds after a train accident. “I didn’t resign to campaign for Lok Sabha, as the media alleges. I resigned on principle as I could not pass the janlokpal bill in the assembly.”
Kejriwal said the AAP government had done in 49 days what no other government could do in years — give free water and cheap electricity and bring down corruption. “If any government can claim to have done so much, I will leave politics,” he said.
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He saved some of his harshest criticism for the media, which he accused of taking money to write against him and his government. “We have to fix the media,” he said.
Taking up for farmers and soldiers — a big part of Haryana’s electorate — he borrowed Shastri’s ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ slogan to say a country that didn’t respect its farmers couldn’t progress while pointing out the unfairness in a martyr’s family getting a few lakhs while cricketers earned in crores. “If my government comes to power in the state or Centre, I will ensure the family of a soldier killed on duty will receive Rs. 1 crore,” he said.