Power politics took centrestage Sunday as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party leaders locked horns with BJP MP Vijay Goel over the electricity bill subsidy. Kejriwal, while addressing volunteer meetings in Shahdara and Paharganj, said the BJP will end Delhi’s power subsidy if it came to power.
Kejriwal was referring to an interview Goel gave to The Indian Express where, when asked about his stance on the recent power subsidy extended to those using under 200 units of power, Goel had said: “We will not give subsidy but create such an environment that electricity is cheaper…”
“It is good the BJP has declared its intent, to end power subsidy, before the election. The leader who made this statement is himself a senior leader and member of parliament, and received 4,000 units of free power per month, but has a problem when the public gets 200 units free,” Kejriwal said.
Goel, meanwhile, said the BJP aims to provide power at a lower price than AAP. “Under the BJP, electricity will be cheaper than subsidies provided by the AAP government. AAP leaders have been lying that BJP will end subsidies. Kejriwal was elected by opposing power companies, now he is helping these companies benefit. Why did Kejriwal not ask the power companies to cut prices?” he said.
Earlier in the day, AAP MP Sanjay Singh also addressed a press conference, alleging that the subsidy will be taken away if BJP came to power.
In July, the government had declared that those using less than 200 units of power per month will not have to pay for it. Those using up to 400 units get a 50% subsidy. The move was called populist by the Opposition but AAP believes it has given the party’s political campaign new wings.
Goel also said that Kejriwal was wasting public money. “Common people understand very well that Kejriwal is not paying for these subsidies from his pocket. He is misusing tax paid by people. We, on the other hand, will promote competition between power companies, owing to which they will reduce rates. The BJP will promote solar energy as well and will implement central government schemes in Delhi,” he said.