Kejriwal promises free power if AAP forms govt in Punjab

Published on Jun 29, 2021 01:10 AM IST

Party accuses state govt of refusing nod for Delhi CM’s press conference at Punjab Bhawan; Capt denies charge

Kejriwal promises free power if AAP forms govt in Punjab
Kejriwal promises free power if AAP forms govt in Punjab
By, Chandigarh

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday promised free electricity in Punjab if his party wins next year’s assembly polls in the state.

Kejriwal, who is scheduled to address a press conference in Chandigarh on Tuesday, made the announcement on Twitter. “In Delhi, we provide 200 units of free electricity to every family. The women are quite happy. Women in Punjab are also quite unhappy with inflation. The AAP government will also provide free electricity in Punjab. See you tomorrow in Chandigarh,” he tweeted in Punjabi.

Minutes later, a controversy erupted over the venue of his press conference as the party leaders accused the Congress government in Punjab of denying permission for Kejriwal’s press conference at Punjab Bhawan, a charge that was denied by chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

AAP’s media coordinator Digvijay Dhanju said the party had planned the press conference at the state guest house, but the chief minister’s office (CMO) denied permission. AAP spokesperson and Punjab affairs co-incharge Raghav Chadha also slammed the state government, attributing the refusal to Amarinder’s fear of the Delhi CM. “@capt_amarinder’s fear of Kejriwal has reached a point where his office has denied us permission to hold press conference at the pre-decided venue. Nevertheless, @ArvindKejriwal will make a mega announcement tomorrow in Chandigarh which will send 440volt current to Capt and his party (sic),” he tweeted.

Amarinder immediately dismissed the allegation, accusing the AAP, the principal opposition party in Punjab, of indulging in drama. He also asked why the state government would stop Kejriwal from holding a press conference when he was allowed to hold a party programme a few days ago, offering to arrange lunch for him. The AAP national convener’s visit on Tuesday will be his second this month as he was in Amritsar on June 21 and had inducted former inspector general of police (IGP) Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh into the party.

“Totally not true. We let @ArvindKejriwal address a rally here just few days back so why should we stop him now having a press conference? If he wants I’d be happy to arrange his lunch too. @AamAadmiParty just wants to do drama even if it means lying: Capt Amarinder,” read a tweet posted by the Punjab CM’s media adviser Raveen Thukral.

A senior CMO official also said there was no question of denying permission as no request was received from the opposition party. AAP state president Bhagwant Mann said that Kejriwal will address the media at the Chandigarh Press Club and make “big announcements”, including free power, on the lines of unlimited facilities being provided to the people of Delhi. He also demanded scrapping of the “faulty” power purchase agreements (PPAs) with independent power producers that are a drain on the state exchequer.

Last week, the Congress high command also took stock of the progress made on the promises made by the party in the 2017 poll manifesto and set an 18-point agenda, including 200 units of free electricity for all households, for the chief minister. State officials feel additional subsidy burden on account of free electricity to domestic consumers will not be tenable.

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