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In Delhi’s yoga war, Kejriwal flexes muscle: ‘Will beg on streets but won’t let classes stop’

The AAP govt alleged that the L-G refused to accord approval for the 'Dilli ki yogshala' programme despite submitting a file to him on Oct 26 after Deputy CM Manish Sisodia met and discussed the matter with L-G Saxena.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addresses a press conference, in New Delhi. (PTI)

Amid the ongoing tussle between the AAP government and Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena over ‘Dilli ki yogshala’ programme, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday announced that the free yoga classes will continue in the capital, and he will fund the programme even if he has to “beg” to be able to pay teachers.

“Yoga classes in Delhi will not be stopped. They (BJP and L-G) may use all their political power and arrogance, play petty politics, misuse administrative rules, and pressure and threaten bureaucrats and officers to discontinue the programme, but Delhi’s two crore people will not let them succeed,” he said.

He also appealed to all yoga teachers to continue the classes from November 2 as per schedule. “If I had to beg on the streets to provide money for classes, I will, and pay you whatever you charge, but the classes will not be stopped. Our goal is to take the current 17,000 strength (people availing the classes) to 17 lakh and two crore.”

The AAP government has alleged that the L-G refused to accord approval for the ‘Dilli ki yogshala’ programme despite submitting a file to him on October 26 after Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia met and discussed the matter with L-G Saxena.

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However, the L-G office has said they are yet to receive any file seeking permission for the extension of the programme beyond October 31.

Kejriwal also showed the yoga file and said it was submitted by Sisodia on October 26.

The programme was launched in December last year. “We have constructed better hospitals, medicines facilities, mohalla clinics and other facilities to provide treatment if people get sick, but we thought why should people get sick? To ensure better health and lifestyle, we started the yoga programme to help keep diseases at bay.”

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The CM said the programme was running successfully for the past 11 months, and about 17,000 people at 590 parks were availing of these free classes. “Of these, 10,000 people are people with severe post-Covid complications and illnesses like breathing and respiratory issues. These yoga classes benefited them a lot. People were happy and our aim was to make these yoga classes accessible to more people, but they (BJP and L-G) conspired to discontinue it from today,” he said.

“It is very sad that due to their petty politics, 17,000 people could not avail of yoga classes today. After watching the news, several yoga teachers requested me not to stop the classes… We will teach without any payment, they said. I am getting calls from people across the country suggesting that they pitch in for classes,” he said.

Kejriwal added that the classes will soon be started in Punjab, and even Gujarat if AAP comes to power. “I believe that one day, we will provide free yoga classes to 130 crore citizens of India. They are using their power and arrogance to misuse the officers and administrations, but we have the support of the Delhi people,” he said.

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Reiterating that over the last few months, the BJP has been trying to put a damper on AAP’s work in Delhi, the CM said he will not let them do it: “They (BJP and L-G) did not let Delhi celebrate ‘Dilli ki Diwali’. They put pressure on officers and stopped celebrations this year, they stopped the ‘Red Light On Gaadi Off’ programme. Now, I am hearing that they are targeting mohalla clinics and planning to stop the tendering process, free medicines and tests, and also remove temporary workers and guest teachers to deter the students’ education.”

“The BJP and the L-G may try to stop work in Delhi, but I want to inform the people of Delhi not to worry, I will stand with you as your shield and will not let BJP or L-G Saxena interrupt any works. I will take all the arrows. Your son and brother is standing with you,” said Kejriwal.

Responding to the recent letters being sent by the L-G, Kejriwal said, “I have noticed that the language being used by the L-G is very inappropriate. I don’t have any problem with that because Kejriwal is a very small thing. They can say anything about Kejriwal because God has given me the opportunity to serve people and that is my goal. But the only thing that hurts me is that when the L-G abuses me, he is not abusing only Kejriwal, he is abusing the Chief Minister of Delhi. And Delhi CM is the representative of 2 crore people, and by abusing the CM, he is insulting the people and their trust which is wrong… What do you get with ‘gaali-galoch’ politics?”

First published on: 01-11-2022 at 19:01 IST
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