February 8, 2021 2:43:00 am
AAM AADMI Party (AAP) leader and Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia took a sharp dig at the Congress Sunday and said the party fights election in Gujarat only to help the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) win. Sisodia also targeted the BJP and said it had failed to deliver on governance despite having ruled municipal corporations and municipalities in the state for almost 25 years.
At a press conference in Rajkot, Sisodia implied that the Congress was hand in glove with the BJP in the state and had helped it to stay in power in the civic bodies. The strategy and candidates of the main opposition party in the state, he said, were decided in the BJP office.
“The Congress, people are telling me, was fighting election only to help BJP win. Its strategy always has been devised in office of the BJP. In fact, in some instances, even the Congress tickets have been decided in the BJP office. Despite all this, if some people, by mistake voted for the Congress, we have witnessed that without respecting the feelings of people who had given them votes to defeat the BJP, elected leaders of the Congress defect to the BJP,” Sisodia said.
The AAP senior leader claimed the Congress had lost the vigour of a political party capable of defeating the BJP. “People who want to defeat the BJP now believe that only (party chief and Delhi Chief Minister) Arvind Kejriwal’s party can only do so,” he said.
The ruling party in Delhi is contesting the local body elections in Gujarat for the first time. While election to six municipal corporations of Rajkot, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat is scheduled for February 21, district and taluka panchayats will vote on February 28.
Taking a dig at the BJP, which has been in power in the municipal corporations and municipalities in Gujarat for almost past 25 years, Sisodia said, “If one asks what the BJP has given during its 25-year-long reign, people are saying, sir, it has not given anything… People handed reigns of powers to the BJP but the party did not work on schools, primary hospitals or water. People are seeing all this and are tired. They want to defeat the BJP in the municipal corporations… Till now, Congress was the only alternative. But now, people are seeing Aam Aadmi Party as a hope.”
In the last five years, the Delhi Education Minister said, the AAP government in Delhi has done some “wonderful work” in schools and hospitals. The government schools in Delhi have improved to such level that people were now transferring their children from private ones, he claimed.
“In the past five years in Delhi, fee hike by private schools has not been allowed. People in Delhi are getting electricity round the clock and, in fact. 70 per cent population is getting it free of cost. Work in water sector has also been tremendous. In Delhi, women get free bus tickets to travel round the clock… People are noticing that if Arvind Kerjiwal can do all of this in five years, why did the BJP, which has been ruling municipal corporations for 25 years, couldn’t do it here, in Ahmedabad,” Sisodia said.
He also pointed out that while enrolment in the government schools in Rajkot was dwindling, the BJP leaders were opening private schools. “In last two months, 26 schools have been shut down in Rajkot. I was looking at the latest data available, showing there are 1,000 schools here in Rajkot and 1.75 lakh students are enrolled with them. On one hand, there is very low enrolment in (government schools) and on the other, BJP leaders have opened private schools. Do we need schools or not? We are telling people that their vote can keep fees of private schools from rising and make government schools like private ones,” Sisodia said.
Alluding to camp jumping by leaders ahead and after almost every election in the state, Sisodia said, “Whoever joins AAP does it once convinced by the politics of Arvind Kejriwal and never deceives trust reposed by people in him and deserts them. They tried a lot when we were running a minority government after winning 28 seats, whereas the BJP had 32. The BJP needed the support of just four more people and made desperate attempts, but four people were never up for sale.” In December 2013, the AAP had formed a minority government in Delhi, with the support from the Congress.
The AAP leader also led a roadshow in Rajkot to campaign for party candidates later in the evening. On Saturday, he had led an eight-hour-long roadshow in Ahmedabad.
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