Kejriwal explains economics behind freebies to take on Opposition
Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal has defended his government’s decision to dole out freebies to the people of the city-state ahead of Assembly elections.
“Freebies, in limited dose, are good for economy. It makes more money available to poor, hence boosts demand. However, it shud be done in such limits so that no extra taxes have to be imposed and it does not lead to budget deficits (sic),” Kejriwal said on Twitter on Friday morning.
This comes a day after Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said the voters are not going to be swayed by the Kejriwal government’s water and power freebies.
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The election will be on the plank of “safety and development” rather than on the “freebies” by the AAP government, the Delhi BJP chief said on Thursday.
“Free water and power supply is an illusion by the Kejriwal government. Considering the number of beneficiaries and quality, water supply is not free in Delhi. There is no scheme, no notification for free power supply and it was announced as a freebie before the polls in a hurry to lure the voters,” he said.
Congress, AAP’s other opponent in the Delhi Assembly elections, too had took on Delhi chief minister over his politics around freebies. Alka Lamba, who was in the AAP before she returned to the Congress, said Kejriwal should be focussing on providing jobs and houses instead of doling out free services.
“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,” Lamba told Hindustantimes.com.
The AAP government sought to fulfil pending pre-poll promises in 2019 and made a string of announcements like free-bus rides for women, no electricity charges of up to 200 units, free WiFi, free pilgrimage for senior citizens and waiver of development charges for new water and sewer connections.
Kejriwal had earlier defended the move, saying the AAP government did this without increasing taxes, and still maintained a Budget surplus. “If I saved money by ending corruption in the last five years, and I am giving back that money to you in the form of freebies, what is wrong in that?” Kejriwal said at Hindustan Times Leadership Summit last month.
Delhi, which has 70 seats, is slated to go to polls on February 8. The counting of votes will take place on February 11.
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