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Think before casting vote: Row over AAP’s ‘election message’ at school event

Opposition BJP accused the AAP government of using the foundation-laying ceremony of 11,000 classrooms as a ploy to seek votes for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

lok sabha elections Updated: Jan 29, 2019 10:39 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
AAP govt,arvind kejriwal,manish sisodia
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and other Aam Aadmi Party MLAs during a government event in New Delhi, on Monday, January 28, 2019. (Burhaan Kinu/HT Photo )

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and deputy CM Manish Sisodia on Monday addressed a parent-teacher-student meet during the foundation-laying ceremony of 11,000 new classrooms in 200 schools, which the Delhi government considers one of its biggest achievements.

But the event, held at Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in New Friends Colony, and telecast across 1,100 government schools, took a political turn with the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accusing the government of using it as a ploy to seek votes for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The bone of contention were statements made by Kejriwal and Sisodia, who asked the parents present at the event that before casting their votes, they should think of who they love more, their children or Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

At one point, Sisodia told ther students: “Go home and ask your parents if they love you or not. If they say they love you, ask them to vote for the party which is building schools.” He asked the children to thank their parents for choosing the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the assembly polls held in 2015. “If they had not voted for us, how could the party have worked for the development of Delhi?” he asked.

Leader of Opposition in Delhi assembly Vijender Gupta brought up these comments while criticising Kejriwal and Sisodia for “politicising” the school event. “This is really unfortunate that the AAP leaders are seeking votes through children. Their statements clearly show that they are scared about their position in the Lok Sabha elections. They know that they are not going to win even a single seat in Delhi,” Gupta said.

During the event, Kerjriwal, said his government was “continuously stopped” from working for Delhi. “Sisodia and I had planned to build 11,000 classrooms in the second year after we came to power. But the central government delayed all our projects by not clearing the files. They stopped us again and again from working for you and Delhi,” he alleged.

“The last time you gave us 67 out of 70 seats in the Delhi assembly and gave us strength to work for you. But you elected the BJP on all seven Lok Sabha seats in the city. This time when you go to vote, chose us and give us more strength. If all the MPs are from our party, we can deliver four year’s work in four months,” he added.

The Delhi government has constructed 8,000 new classrooms in its existing schools in the last four years. “In the last four years, 23 new schools have been built, 31 are under construction and blue prints for 78 new schools have been decided,” said Sisodia.

Despite several messages and calls, the AAP did not comment on the BJP’s objections to Kejriwal and Sisodia’s statement.

Teachers and members of the Delhi government teachers’ association said seeking votes at a school event can leave a “bad impression” on children.

“We strongly criticise the way AAP leaders sought votes through students. We have never seen a government using schools as a platform for political propaganda. It will leave a very bad impression on the young minds of children. This is highly condemnable,” said Ajay Veer Singh, general secretary of the association.

First Published: Jan 29, 2019 10:11 IST

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