After unveiling the busts of freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev in the Delhi Legislative Assembly premises, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said his government was working towards fulfilling Singh’s dream of freedom.
While he said the reasons behind raising issues that the country was grappling with were not political, his speech seemed to have been made with an eye on the poll-bound state of Punjab.
His speech delved into issues like Vijay Mallya, the Aam Aadmi Party’s emergence from an anti-corruption movement, farmer suicides and free medicines in hospitals in Delhi.
“Bhagat Singhji had said that freedom will not come only from driving the British out of the country, it will come when imperialism, poverty come to an end and farmers and labourers live happily,” he said.
Clarifying that this was not a political jibe, Kejriwal said, “If Vijay Mallya can flee the country with Rs 9,000 crore and the entire administration is left feeling helpless, then we have not achieved Bhagat Singh’s freedom. This shows the flaws in the system. We don’t know how many people there are like Mallya. Maybe loans worth Rs 1.25-1.5 lakh crore have been taken by influential people and on the other hand, farmers commit suicide over loans of Rs 50,000-60,000. I don’t think this is the freedom that Bhagat Singh laid down his life for.”
The AAP government in Delhi, he said, was trying to turn Bhagat Singh’s dream into a reality. He also pointed out that families of farmers committing suicide in Punjab had got no relief.
“When crops of farmers are destroyed, the Delhi government does not sit with its head in its hands. The Delhi chief minister goes on visits from one village to another. And when crops were destroyed last year, the Delhi government paid the highest ever compensation of Rs 20,000 per acre. Farmers work tirelessly to grow their crops so we can feed ourselves. When farmers face difficulties, it is the government’s duty to help them out. That is what Bhagat Singhji was martyred for,” he said.
He said that a lot of indebted farmers had committed suicide in Punjab. “I was in Punjab a few days ago. Many farmers have committed suicide there. I met with families of farmers who had committed suicide. We asked why they committed suicide. We were told they were indebted. They had taken loans for farming but the crop was destroyed and did not get proper compensation.”
He also gave an account of AAP government’s decision to make all medicines and tests in government hospitals free of cost. “This is the first state in which medicines and tests in all government hospitals are free. No poor person will have to die for want of money for treatment,” Kejriwal said.