The upcoming Gujarat elections will be a straight contest between the “honest” Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which means “corruption and spurious liquor”, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday.
Addressing a rally in tribal-dominated Chhota Udepur district, Mr Kejriwal said Congress has lost its relevance and there was no point voting for that party as its leaders end up joining the ruling BJP.
“There is no point voting for Congress. Congress should not get a single vote this time. Every vote should go to the AAP and the ‘broom’ (its election symbol). Many Congress leaders have joined the BJP and many more will join it before the elections. Those remaining in Congress will cross over to BJP after the elections,” he said.
The Assembly elections in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, are due in December this year. “Nothing is left in the Congress now. This election is a contest between AAP and BJP. AAP means an honest, patriotic party with new politics, new faces, new ideas, enthusiasm, energy etc. Whereas as the BJP means spurious liquor and corruption,” said the Delhi chief minister.
Targeting the BJP over the recent hooch tragedy in which 42 people died, Mr Kejriwal said that liquor is sold in the open despite the prohibition law in Gujarat.
“Liquor is found everywhere in Gujarat, and it is sold in the open, in villages, streets, and cities. And they say there is a prohibition in Gujarat. Then who sells liquor worth thousands of crores of rupees? Who runs this business, who makes money?” he asked.
He said that if people vote for the BJP it will make their children drink liquor.
“They will make your children drink spurious liquor. If you vote for them this business of illegal liquor will continue to run,” said the AAP leader.
On the other hand, AAP promises big government schools and hospitals for the people of Gujarat, he said.
“In Delhi, where I have been running the government for the last seven years, we have set up grand schools. Children of the poor, rickshaw-pullers, Dalits are now becoming engineers, doctors, lawyers, and are coming up with big business ideas,” said Mr Kejriwal.
He wondered why Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel failed to visit the victims of the hooch tragedy in Botad and Ahmedabad districts.
Why Patel did not visit the villages where several people lost their lives after consuming the spurious liquor, he asked.
During his recent visit to Gujarat, Mr Kejriwal met some victims of the hooch tragedy at a Bhavnagar-based hospital.
“I felt very sad. They are very poor people. But I was sadder to see that Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel did not visit them in the hospital. I was more sorry to see that the CM did not go to the villages to meet the families of those who died in the hooch tragedy. Everything is not about votes,” he said.
Slamming BJP, he said the people of Gujarat are electing the saffron party to power for the last 27 years with a huge majority but the party is “insensitive”.
In his “guarantee” to the tribal community, Mr Kejriwal promised the implementation of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution and the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act in tribal regions of Gujarat if the AAP is voted to power.
“The Adivasi society has different cultures. Their customs are different, and they are more backward than all other societies that’s why our Constitution has made different arrangements for the tribal society but no government is ready to implement them,” he alleged.
Mr Kejriwal said members of the tribal community face many difficulties in getting caste certificates.
“This process will be made easy if the AAP is voted to power. Houses will be provided to those who don’t have a roof on their heads and roads will be built in every village. Tribals in Gujarat will also get free electricity up to 300 units per month and the waiver of electricity bills till December and all will get jobs. Unemployment allowance of Rs 3,000 per month will be provided which are other guarantees of AAP,” Mr Kejriwal added.
Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) leader Mahesh Vasava shared the stage with Gujarat AAP leaders.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)