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Wednesday, August 04, 2021

AAP power play for Uttarakhand polls: 300 units free, bill waiver

The party had earlier announced that it will contest from all 70 seats in the hill state, which goes to polls next year.

Written by Lalmani Verma | Dehradun |
Updated: July 12, 2021 4:57:48 am
Arvind KejriwalEveryone should speak out against it and these raids should be stopped immediately. Media should be allowed to work independently, Kejriwal tweeted. (File photo)

The Aam Aadmi Party Sunday promised 300 units of free electricity a month for every household, waiver of pending bills, free power for agriculture, and uninterrupted supply if elected in Uttarakhand.

The party had earlier announced that it will contest from all 70 seats in the hill state, which goes to polls next year.

Soon after the promises were made by AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal in Dehradun, the BJP and the Congress, too, announced similar schemes.

At a press conference, Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, “guaranteed” that the AAP government’s first decision would be on three of the four promises. He added that the promise of a round-the- clock power supply may take 3-4 years to implement as the grid network would first have to be improved.

Kejriwal said that fulfilling the promise of free electricity will cost around Rs 1,200 crore which can be easily done from the Rs 50,000-crore state budget.

The Delhi CM said that the people of Uttarakhand have to choose between two models of governance—one of two parties (BJP and Congress) which run the government in deficit, have corruption and power supply with high tariff, or by the AAP model that can run government in profit, develop good hospital and schools and give free power.

Targeting the BJP for changing two CMs over the past four months, Kejriwal said, “The ruling party (BJP) does have a CM. It makes a CM and it later feels that he is ‘nikamma’ (inefficient). It selects another CM but again find that he also is nikamma…this is first time in 70 years when a party says that its CM is incompetent and it is going to change CM.”

Speaking of the Congress, Kejriwal said, “Opposition doesn’t have a leader. They are making rounds in Delhi for a month to select a leader.” Kejriwal’s remark was in reference to the Congress’s ongoing meetings to elect a Leader of Opposition after the death of senior party leader Indira Hridayesh.

The AAP leader said state Power Minister Harak Singh Rawat recently promised to provide free electricity up to 100 units but the CM later denied any such proposal. He promised the development of schools, medical facilities, roads and law-and-order in Uttarakhand, just like in Delhi.

Kejriwal also stated that he will return to Uttarakhand next month with a promise on employment, and that he will soon announce the party’s CM face.

Speaking of the spike in petrol and diesel prices, Kejriwal said the Centre charges more tax than states. He said, “Oil prices at international level are decreasing but our central government is increasing tax, which is not right.”

In response, Power Minister Rawat said his department will soon table a proposal in the state Cabinet to provide free electricity to domestic users up to 100 units per month, while those consuming 101 to 200 units will be charged per cent of the cost.

“Free electricity should be given to the poor. Those who can afford to pay, they should pay the bill,” he said. “Uttarakhand has its own economical condition. It is easy to promise anything but decisions are taken for a balanced development as per the economical condition of the state. Uttarakhand people understand everything.”

Meanwhile, the Congress said that the core issues in Uttarakhand were unemployment, poor health, education services and migration. State party vice-president Suryakant Dhasmana said, “If migration continues, who will consume electricity? … Other parties are diverting people from core issues by offering free electricity and water.”

On Sunday evening, senior Congress leader and former CM Harish Rawat announced that if voted to power, his party would ensure that all residents would get up to 100 units of electricity free of cost in the first year, and up to 200 units in the second year. He tweeted in Hindi that if Uttarakhand’s annual budget were to become equal to that of Delhi’s, the Congress will make up to 400 units of electricity free of cost.

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