Defending Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia who was recently booked in a CBI case related to a now-scrapped excise policy, AAP national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that a man who should have been given the Bharat Ratna was instead being hounded by raids.
Kejriwal was speaking after arriving in Ahmedabad with Sisodia on Monday noon as part of their two-day trip to the state where they are expected to hold town hall events in Himmatnagar town of Sabarkantha and in Bhavnagar.
“People across the country are unhappy. Such a man who should have been handed over the education system of the entire country, a man who performed a miracle in the past five years and accomplished feats of making splendid government schools and improving the future of this country’s children, you want to conduct CBI raid at such a man’s house? Have you no shame? He should be given the Bharat Ratna,” said Kejriwal.
When asked about Sisodia’s recent statement that people of the Rajput community are unhappy over the manner in which Sisodia’s house has been raided by the CBI, Kejriwal said, “People from all communities – Kshatriya, Vaishya, Brahmin, SC, ST, women, children – are angry over the manner in which Sisodia has been framed. Now he might be arrested over the next three-four days. What will happen after his arrest? For three-four months, the education system will be impacted. Who will benefit from all this? The entire case against him is fake. We will not let the work stop in his absence but it will get hampered for sure.”
Kejriwal also defended his liquor policy stating that his party had to back down over increasing pressure from central agencies and the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.
“There was a proposal to open 850 shops but we gave permission to only 350. The manner in which the central government was pressuring Delhi officials through central agencies and the L-G, the government officials refused to do auction for the new shops. That policy was actually good and we are ready to have a debate on it. But we were under pressure to roll it back because if we hadn’t done it then all shops would have been shut and illicit liquor would have started being sold in Delhi. That’s why we decided to go with the old policy despite its hundred shortcomings, so that at least spurious liquor is not being sold in Delhi.”
When asked whether his party would retain the prohibition policy in Gujarat, Kejriwal vehemently supported the prohibition in the dry state and said, “The prohibition policy will be implemented as it is in Gujarat but we will not do business of illicit liquor. We will not do business of Rs 10,000 crore worth of illicit liquor and try to run our party like they are doing in Gujarat.”
On the occasion, Kejriwal also announced free healthcare and education for all citizens of Gujarat, if chosen to power. “For the past several months I have been coming to Gujarat, people of Gujarat are very unhappy for the past 27 years because there is an arrogant BJP government in power that believes people don’t have an alternative over here and they can anyway buy Congress MLAs at leisure so there is not really any need to work. Today we have come to give a guarantee on education and health. Guarantee means that if you don’t like our work then don’t vote for us next time. I am happy to accompany the world’s best education minister today to make these announcements. This is not me saying, but the New York Times newspaper that has published Sisodia’s picture on its front page,” he said.
“There are over one crore school-going children in Gujarat, among whom 53-54 lakh study in government schools while the remaining go to private ones. Both are being cheated. Arbitrary fee hike is being done at private schools while the state of government schools is not hidden from anyone. The future of one crore children will improve through our guarantee which will be a big deal for Gujarat,” said Kejriwal.
Sisodia said, “We all know that for India to become developed, it needs an excellent education system. Today I am giving guarantee to each parent of Gujarat that we will provide an excellent education system which will be applicable from cities to villages. For each child of Gujarat, education will be free and of global standard, every government school of Gujarat will become excellent like those in Delhi and vacancy of teachers in government schools will be filled.”
Regarding the healthcare guarantee, Kejriwal said, “Due to 27 years of misrule of the BJP, government clinics are being destroyed day by day so that people are forced to go to private hospitals. Our first guarantee in health is that every person in Gujarat will have free and quality healthcare. All medicines and tests and treatment, operation cost will be free, if the rich want to go to private hospitals they are free to go, but no one will be asked to show the BPL card at government health facilities. There will be one clinic in each ward of Gujarat.”
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“We have made a scheme in Delhi that in case of an accident, all treatment cost – even in private – is free and due to this, we have saved 13,000 lives in Delhi. We will introduce the same in Gujarat also,” he added.
Kejriwal also congratulated the state government for announcing Rs 1 crore ex gratia relief for Army personnel from Gujarat who die in the line of action. “Every Delhi-based Army martyr gets Rs 1 crore compensation. I am very happy that the state government has made a similar announcement. I thank the Gujarat government, but we have a demand that in our scheme we have also included police personnel. Likewise, Gujarat police personnel should also be involved in this scheme. People are saying that it is not the intent of the BJP government to give money, but they are doing it since elections are due in the next three months. My request is that in 10 days all such people should be given 1 crore,” he said.