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Delhi statehood, China land issue in Kejriwal’s guarantees

By, New Delhi
May 13, 2024 07:00 AM IST

Kejriwal, after his release from jail on interim bail for the poll campaign, termed his pitch “Kejriwal ki guarantee versus (Prime Minister) Modi ki guarantee”.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will scrap the Agniveer armed forces recruitment programme, give the Army a free hand to resolve India’s conflict with China and accord Delhi complete statehood if the INDIA bloc of Opposition parties is voted to power after the ongoing general elections, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday, as he outlined a list of “10 guarantees” that will reinforce the country’s foundations.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal addresses the media alongside Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann and other senior leaders. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal addresses the media alongside Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann and other senior leaders. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)

The guarantees also include round-the-clock free power for the poor, quality government education, improved healthcare and a simplified Goods and Services Tax (GST).

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“People have to decide whether they want to trust ‘Modi ki guarantee’ or ‘Kejriwal’s guarantees’,” Kejriwal said during a press conference at the AAP headquarters, two days after being released from Tihar jail.

“He (Modi) made a series of promises, for instance that he would give everyone 15 lakh, provide 20 million jobs, double farmers’ income... But none of these were fulfilled. We delivered on free electricity, mohalla clinics and excellent schools,” he said.

“There are some things that should have been completed in the last 75 years... These things are like laying the foundation stone of a nation. Without them, the nation cannot move ahead,” Kejriwal added.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, accused the Delhi chief minister of lying and called his guarantees “fake”.

Kejriwal has been in a flurry of political activity since being granted 21-days’ interim bail by the Supreme Court on Friday. He held a meeting with his party’s MLAs on Sunday morning, after which he addressed the press conference, following it up with roadshows in Moti Nagar and Uttam Nagar.

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During the press briefing, Kejriwal — who was flanked by his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann, AAP parliamentarian Sanjay Singh, Delhi ministers Gopal Rai, Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj, and senior leader Sandeep Pathak — said the release of the guarantees was delayed due to his incarceration.

He also admitted that he had not run the promises past his coalition partners in the INDIA alliance. However, Kejriwal said he was sure “they will not oppose any of the promises”.

“After the INDIA bloc forms the government, I guarantee that I will get all my alliance partners to fulfil these promises,” he said.

The AAP is contesting 22 Lok Sabha seats across the country. These include four of seven seats in Delhi, all 13 seats in Punjab (where it will face off against the Congress), two in Gujarat, one in Haryana and two in Assam.

The promises are similar to the six guarantees Kejriwal’s wife Sunita revealed during an INDIA bloc rally on March 31.

Elaborating on his 10 guarantees, Kejriwal said that the government will provide people across the country with 24-hour power supply and that the poor will be given 200 free units. He said that the country can produce 300,000mw of power, higher than the summer peak demand of 200,000 MW. “We did this in Delhi and Punjab and will replicate it across the country... It will take around 1.25 lakh crore to fulfil this promise,” he said.

Kejriwal promised to improve the quality of education in government schools to the extent that they better private ones. “This will need 5 lakh crore, which will be equally shared by the Centre and state. Over the five years, it will need only 50,000 crore,” he said.

He said that thirdly, quality free health care will be ensured for all through mohalla clinics in “every village and locality” across the country and upgrade of district hospitals to multi-specialty hospitals. “We will develop health infrastructure in every corner of the country,” he said, adding that it will cost 5 lakh crore over five years.

Touching on India’s border conflict with China, he said “rashtra sarvopari (nation-first attitude)” will be adopted and the army given complete freedom to free Indian land from Chinese occupation.

“China has occupied our land... Everyone knows the reality through satellite pictures. Hiding it is not the solution... We will remove China from our land. Firstly, we will use diplomatic channels, and second, we will provide a free hand to the country’s armed forces,” he said.

He also said that the Agniveer scheme will be discontinued.

“This scheme is bad for the army and youngsters. We will regularise all those who have enrolled under this scheme,” he said.

Kejriwal also made agriculture a plank for the polls, promising a “dignified life” for farmers and full compensation for their crops based on the Swaminathan Report.

He said that the seventh guarantee is “full statehood for Delhi”, which was one of the AAP’s key poll planks during the 2019 elections.

Under the eighth guarantee, he promised the creation of 20 million jobs.

He also touched upon corruption and promised to ensure justice as his ninth guarantee.

Lastly, Kejriwal said trade and industry would be promoted, GST simplified and also taken out of the ambit of the PMLA. “Over the past 10 years, 120,000 high net individuals have left the country due to the central government’s terror. All legal and administrative processes will be simplified to ensure trade flourishes,” he said.

Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva said the AAP was “peddling dreams and nothing else”.

“Not a single new college has been opened in Delhi in nine-and-a-half years and they are promising schools in every village of the country. Mohalla clinics of Delhi have broken down and even the Delhi high court has reprimanded the state government for its poor health services,” he said.

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