Aam Aadmi Party convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday promised free pilgrimage for senior citizens in AC trains to various religious places, including Ayodhya, if the AAP was voted to power in Gujarat, and accused the BJP of “failure” on multiple fronts during its nearly three-decade-old rule in the state.
He also promised free electricity, better schools and hospitals if the AAP forms the next government in Gujarat, where the Assembly polls are due by the year-end.
Addressing a rally in Rajkot city, Mr Kejriwal accused the BJP of “failing” on education, health and employment fronts in Gujarat during its long rule in the state.
Highlighting the reforms carried out in the education sector in Delhi under his chief ministership, Kejriwal accused the BJP government in Gujarat of closing down nearly 6,000 government-run schools meant for the “poor” citizens.
“Though the BJP is in power for 27 years in Gujarat, it has never sent a single person on pilgrimage. Did they send anyone to Ayodhya all these years? In Delhi, the AAP government has sent 50,000 elderly citizens on pilgrimage in just three years. We sent them to places like Mathura, Haridwar and Vrindavan under our scheme without charging anything” he said.
“If voted to power in Gujarat, we will take each and every elderly citizen to religious places for free. We will send them in air conditioned trains and arrange their stay in air conditioned hotel rooms,” said Mr Kejriwal while addressing the gathering.
The AAP leader, whose party recently formed its government in Punjab, asked the people of Gujarat to give his outfit a chance to govern the state, a BJP stronghold.
“The AAP is a party of educated, honest and patriotic people. I urge the people to give us one chance, at least to break the ego of the BJP. If you do not find our work satisfactory, you are free to choose any other party in the next elections after five years,” he added.
He claimed that though Bhupendra Patel is the Chief Minister of Gujarat, the show is being run by state BJP president CR Paatil.
The AAP leader said government schools in Delhi have improved vastly after his party came to power in the national capital.
“I have been informed that government schools are in a bad shape in Gujarat. The situation was similar in Delhi before we came to power. But, we have made our schools world-class in just five years. Nearly 4 lakh children of rich people have left private schools and taken admission in government-run schools,” the AAP convener claimed.
Attacking his bitter political rival the BJP, the Delhi CM said the saffron outfit is in power only to “rob” the people of Gujarat.
“If we can fix government schools in five years, then why can’t the BJP do the same in 27 years in Gujarat? Because they came to power only to rob people. If the Delhi government can stop private schools from increasing their fees, why can’t the BJP do the same in Gujarat? Because the BJP is hand in glove with private school owners here” he alleged.
The AAP leader asked the people present in the rally if he looks like a “thug” as labeled by Gujarat BJP president Paatil recently.
“Paatilji said Kejriwal is a thug. Do I look like a thug? Does a thug improve schools and hospitals? Paatilji said I am a terrorist. Do a terrorist sends people to pilgrimage?” asked Mr Kejriwal.
The bureaucrat-turned-politician then asked people attending the rally to raise their hands if they feel that Paatil is a “thug”. To this, almost all present at the gathering raised their hands.
The AAP leader said people should vote for his party if they want free electricity 24 hours, just like in Delhi.
“Educated youths in Gujarat are not getting jobs. We gave jobs to 12 lakh youths in five years and are currently working on giving employment to 20 lakh in the next five years. If you want jobs, then bring the AAP to power in Gujarat,” said Mr Kejriwal.
Without taking names, he claimed a prominent Congress leader was stopped by the BJP from joining the AAP and asked to stay put in the opposition party.
“When that leader asked for a reason, BJP leaders told him that the Congress is the BJP’s younger sister. I want the people of Gujarat to remove this combination of brother-sister and bring the AAP in Gujarat,” said Mr Kejriwal.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)