CM Kejriwal woos traders in Punjab, meets Radha Soami sect chiefhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/kejriwal-woos-traders-in-punjab-meets-radha-soami-sect-chief-3049858/

CM Kejriwal woos traders in Punjab, meets Radha Soami sect chief

Taking potshots at the Centre over black money compliance window, Kejriwal alleged IT department is targeting traders across the country to meet its target while big businessmen like Vijay Malya were going scot-free.

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Delhi CM and AAP Convener Arvind Kejriwal being honoured in Jalandhar on Sunday. (Source: PTI) 

On his second visit to Punjab within three weeks, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today reached out to traders promising to end ‘raid raj’ and also met Radha Soami sect chief Gurinder Singh Dhillon in a bid to broaden AAP’s base the state which goes to polls next year.

Taking potshots at the Centre over black money compliance window, Kejriwal alleged IT department is targeting traders across the country to meet its target while big businessmen like Vijay Malya were going scot-free.

Wooing the business community, traditionally considered BJP supporters, he said if AAP forms next government it would end ‘raid raj’ and bring “business-friendly” policies in the state as it has done in Delhi. The AAP national convenor also met Radha Soami sect chief Gurinder Singh Dhillon at Beas. The sect has a considerable following in the state.

Kejriwal met Dhillon at Radha Soami headquarters, also known as Dera Baba Jaimal Singh, and spent over 30 minutes with him.

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“During the meeting, they discussed the political scenario of Punjab in view of upcoming assembly election in the state, an AAP spokesman said. Earlier, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had also met the Radha Soami sect chief at beas. Kejriwal said the trader community has complained to him of unnecessary IT department raids.

“Instead of conducting such raids, IT sleuths should be raiding Vijay Malya and I’m sure their target of at least Rs 7000 crore could have been met,” he said in an apparent reference to Centre’s Income Declaration Scheme which gives citizens time till September 30 to declare undisclosed income.

“Giant corporate houses are being allowed to go scot free with the loot, which indicates the government’s intention on the issue of black money,” the Delhi CM said. He claimed the AAP government in Delhi reduced VAT on many items from 12.5% to 5% even without the traders asking for it.

Speaking on the occasion of Maharaja Agarsen Jayanti here, Kejriwal, who attended the programme as chief guest, vowed to end ‘raid raj’ in Punjab if his party comes to power after the 2017 Assembly poll in the state.

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“It is our observation that raid raj instead of curbing corruption encourages it among corrupt bureaucrats and inspectors,” he said, adding, it’s very important governments must discourage ‘raid raj’ in any state. “When we came to power in Delhi, about 150 raids were being conducted per month, which we stopped and now raids are allowed only in cases the department has ample evidence against whom the raid to be conducted,” he said.

On the drug menace in Punjab, Kejriwal said, “We have to curb this and once it is done there would be a dire need of employment for rehabilitating youths.” He said the business community could help by giving jobs to such youths so that they don’t get astray again.

Earlier, on his visit to Jalandhar by road from Amritsar, Congress women wing protested against him showing placards and black flags. They were protesting against alleged misgovernance of the Delhi government which has been held responsible for dengue chickenguniya deaths.

During his visit at Beas, Kejriwal was accompanied by AAP Punjab convener Gurpreet Ghuggi and party’s Sangoor MP Bhagwant Manna. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had also visited Beas in March this year, while Senior BJP leader L K Advani had gone there in 2014 and attended the morning discourse by Dhillon.