Kejriwal kicks off ‘Make India No. 1’ campaign in Hisar, attacks Centre

Updated on Sep 08, 2022 01:42 AM IST

Speaking at a “youth townhall” with Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann by his side, AAP supremo and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said it was young people who would fuel the campaign.

AAP convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal with his Punjab counterpart, Bhagwant Mann, in Hisar on Wednesday. (AAP Media)
AAP convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal with his Punjab counterpart, Bhagwant Mann, in Hisar on Wednesday. (AAP Media)
BySunil Rahar, Rohtak

India is lagging behind in development even after 75 years of Independence, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Wednesday as he launched the party’s nationwide “Make India No. 1” campaign from Haryana’s Hisar district, saying his mission was to build an alliance of 1.3 billion Indians.

Speaking at a “youth townhall” with Punjab Cm Bhagwant Mann by his side, Kejriwal said it was young people who would fuel the campaign.

“Youth will play a game-changing role the Make India No 1 yatra. Whenever the youth unites its voice, it leads to the wave of revolution. We will travel across the country and urge the people to join this campaign,” Kejriwal said, asking supporters from across party lines to sign up.

Kejriwal also hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress for playing “bad politics” over the decades-old Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal dispute and sought the Centre’s intervention to ensure water for Punjab and Haryana.

For the Make India No 1 drive, he said, the most important facet was education.

“We should have focused on building good government schools in every nook and corner, every village and mohalla in war mode after gaining Independence in 1947,” he said, adding that instead of sprucing up government schools to make education more accessible, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Haryana’s previous Congress government was shutting government schools. “The BJP government in Haryana has shut down 190 government schools while its predecessor Congress government had closed 500 schools,” he said, calling it a dangerous trend.

On the SYL canal dispute, Kejriwal asked the Centre not to make the two states – Haryana and Punjab – fight over the matter. He also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure water for the two states.

“It is the responsibility of the central government that it should intervene and ensure water for Haryana and Punjab. The Prime Minister should hold a meeting and resolve the issue. If he fails to do so, he should invite me and I will give him a conclusive solution,” he said.

The SYL canal row has been a bone of contention between Punjab and Haryana for several decades. While Punjab has been demanding a reassessment of the Ravi-Beas river waters’ volume, Haryana has been seeking completion of the SYL canal to get its share of 3.5 million acre feet (MAF) of water.

Kejriwal’s remarks on the matter came a day after the Centre told the Supreme Court that the government in Punjab, where the AAP is in power, was “not cooperating” in resolving the SYL canal issue.

The AAP leader also sought to know the stand of the BJP and Congress in Punjab and Haryana on the matter.

The Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), however, hit out at the AAP leaders over the dispute.

Punjab Congress president Amrinder Singh Raja Warring alleged Kejriwal had “deliberately planned” the visit wirh Mann just a day after the hearing in the Supreme Court.

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal accused Mann of “weakening” Punjab’s position on a second core issue concerning the sentiments of its Punjabis.

AAP leaders said the nationwide campaign will go on for about a year. Kejriwal is next slated to visit Rajasthan, they said.

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