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Sunday, December 05, 2021

Punjab: Playing now, a battle of 2 ‘aam aadmis’

Both Channi and Kejriwal woo women voters and auto-rickshaw drivers as two CMs seek to outdo each other

Written by Divya Goyal | Ludhiana |
Updated: November 23, 2021 7:42:31 am
CM Charanjit Singh Channi accompanied by Navjot Singh Sidhu held meeting with auto rickshaw drivers in Ludhiana and had tea with them. (Express photo)

It was a political contest between two ‘aam aadmis’ as Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal targeted each other, and tried to woo same set of voters Monday as the ruling Congress in state and the Aam Aadmi Party launched their respective campaigns for next year’s Assembly election.

Barbs also flew thick and fast Kejriwal accused Channi of being “nakli Kejriwal”, while Punjab CM termed the AAP convenor an “outsider” who “should not dream of ruling Punjab”.

Ahead of Kejriwal’s event in Moga where he was scheduled to announce AAP’s “third guarantee” for women, Channi in his address at a workers’ meeting in Ludhiana spoke on “women empowerment” and said that his government will give women their due rights.

Kejriwal met auto rickshaw drivers in Ludhiana in the evening. However, Channi, accompanied by PCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, held a similar meeting with auto drivers earlier in the day. While Channi and other Congress leaders had tea in the company of auto drivers, Kejriwal and his party leaders went a step ahead and and had dinner at one such driver’s residence.

Kejriwal ‘ikk mauka Kejriwal ni’ posters for autorickshaws in Ludhiana, Monday. (Express photo)

On women and being real ‘aam aadmi’
Addressing the gathering in Ludhiana, Channi suddenly started speaking on women empowerment, which came as a surprise even for his party colleagues.

“We have to empower women, give them equal rights. If women can handle homes, they can handle Punjab too. They are the ones who give us food at home. A society can’t run without women, nor Punjab or this world,” said Channi.

Targeting Delhi CM, Channi said, “What is this Mission Punjab that he is launching today? Is Punjab an orphan? Punjabis are here to take care of Punjab. How can some outsiders come from Delhi and rule punjab? He is here just to befool Punjabis”.

In a counter attack in Moga, Kejriwal said that Channi was tries to copy his ideas but fails to implement them. “A nakli Kejriwal’ (fake) is roaming in Punjab these days who tries to copy me but doesn’t implement what he promises. People of Punjab should be cautious of him and it is only your ‘asli Kejriwal’ who knows how to bring electricity bills to zero,” he said.

“Main jo bhi Punjab mein aake vaada karke jaata hu, wo do din baad wahi bol deta hai. Karta nahi hai, kyunki wo nakli hai,” said Kejriwal.

“I announced free power, and now he says the Congress government will also give 400 units of free power. I announced 15,000 Mohalla Clinics and then he also announced the same,” Kejriwal said.

Kejriwal accompanied an auto driver to his home for dinner in Ludhiana. (Express photo)

Two CMs, both in the ‘auto’ gear
Channi assured auto-rickshaw drivers that their pending challans will be waived as he heard their grievances here. The CM, who was on way to address a Congress meeting, halted on his way to the grain market to listen to problems of the auto-rickshaw drivers.

Accompanied by Sidhu and Finance Minister Manpreet Singjh Badal, CM took a wooden bench to sit amongst auto-rickshaw owners and interacted with them. He also relished tea offered by them.

Channi meanwhile said that none except him could understand pain and problems of poor people such as auto drivers and street vendors. “I too used to drive an auto ricskshaw when I was young.. I come from a poor family. I understand what they go through. There are 30,000 auto drivers in Ludhiana nearly 50,000 street vendors. They are looted and harassed. No one listens to poor, today we have accepted all their demands,” claimed Channi.

He announced that the new registration certificates would be issued soon to prevent their harassment.
In the evening, Kejriwal held an ‘Auto Samwad’ programme where he listened to problems of auto drivers. Later, with state party chief Bhagwant Mann and Leader of Opposition Harpal Cheema, he reached the residence of auto driver Dilip Kumar Tewari and had dinner there.

Kejriwal accompanied by Bhagwant Mann and Harpal Cheema traveled in an auto in Ludhiana. (Express photo)

Party sources however revealed that driver was an AAP worker.
Earlier, addressing auto drivers he said, “Due to the unparalleled work done by the Delhi government for auto and cab drivers, every auto driver in Delhi considers me his brother. In the same way today I have come to be your brother. I have come to build a relationship. Make me your brother and I’ll solve all your problems”.

On the occasion, he announced the formation of a joint corporation of autorickshaw and taxi drivers, so that they can formulate their own policies. Kejriwal said necessary reforms and changes will be made in rules and regulations in Punjab like it has been done in Delhi.

Kejriwal said politicians were the real mafia, and the auto and taxi drivers were the victims of a corrupt system. He asked the auto drivers to write down any problems faced by them, saying each issue will be addressed. He said auto drivers played a big role by putting AAP’s posters on their vehicles.
Kejriwal and Bhagwant Mann also launched ‘Ek Mauka Kejriwal’ poster for Punjab’s auto-rickshaw drivers and chief minister later pasted it on an autorickshaw.

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