Free electricity if AAP wins Punjab polls: Arvind Kejriwal

Updated on Jun 30, 2021 06:01 AM IST

Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is the principal opposition in Punjab, also assured the restoration of electricity supply to domestic category consumers whose connections have been snapped due to arrears, and round-the-clock power supply in the state.

On freebie politics, Kejriwal said he was asked the same questions in Delhi six years ago, but his government has achieved this there.(Keshav Singh/HT Photo)
On freebie politics, Kejriwal said he was asked the same questions in Delhi six years ago, but his government has achieved this there.(Keshav Singh/HT Photo)
By, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh

Chandigarh Ahead of assembly elections in Punjab early next year, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday promised 300 units of free electricity for each household in the state and waiver of their pending bills if his party wins the state polls.

Kejriwal, whose party is the principal opposition in Punjab, also assured the restoration of electricity supply to domestic category consumers whose connections have been snapped due to arrears, and round-the-clock power supply in the state. “With 300 units of free power to each household, 77-80% families in Punjab will get zero bill. They will get 24-hour power but no bill,” Kejriwal said at a press meet at the Chandigarh Press Club.

The AAP chief said power in Punjab is the costliest in the country despite it being a producer state that is surplus. “We do not produce power in Delhi and buy from other states and still supply at almost the cheapest rates,” he said, blaming the “dirty nexus” between the state government and the (private) power companies for expensive power in Punjab. “If this nexus is ended and things are set right in power companies, we can ensure cheaper power,” he added.

Kejriwal was accompanied by state AAP president Bhagwant Mann, leader of opposition in the Punjab assembly Harpal Singh Cheema, Punjab affairs in-charge and Delhi MLA Jarnail Singh, and AAP spokesperson and Punjab affairs co-incharge Raghav Chadha, besides former IPS officer Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh.

The Delhi CM said these are his guarantees, not Captain’s (Amarinder Singh) promises. “As soon as the AAP government is formed in the state, we will ensure free power and write off all pending bills of consumers of domestic supply category with the first stroke of pen. The 24-hour supply will require strengthening of the distribution network and may take three to four years,” Kejriwal declared before responding to questions.

Asked about his free power promise, he said that it is for domestic consumers with consumption of up to 300 units. If power consumption exceeds 300 units, the consumer will have to pay the bill, he said.

The party, in a press release later, clarified that all the existing beneficiary categories such as Scheduled Castes and below poverty line families, which were getting 200 free units, will now get 300 free units and will be charged only for consumption over and above 300 units.

“All other non-beneficiaries who do not receive any electricity benefits currently will get 300 units per month. If this category consumes more than 300 units per month, they will have to pay for the whole consumption,” the press release said.

‘Will replicate Delhi model’

On freebie politics, Kejriwal said he was asked the same questions in Delhi six years ago, but his government has achieved this there. “In Delhi, people get free electricity, and the government and power companies are in profit. We will do it in Punjab in the same way. Yeh jadoo hai hamein hi karna aata hai (Only the AAP knows how to make this possible). I have done my calculations,” he said.

Slamming the mafias in Punjab, he said there is no dearth of money in the state, but it lacks a government with “acchi neeyat” (good intention). He also said farmers will continue to get electricity free, and industry at the present rates.

There was no response from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) on Kejriwal’s statement over “dirty nexus” between the state government and the private power companies.

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