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Chhattisgarh: Kejriwal announces ten guarantees, promises free electricity, allowance for women, unemployed

Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday announced ten “guarantees” for the upcoming assembly polls in the Congress-ruled state

Published Date – 08:10 PM, Sat – 19 August 23


Chhattisgarh: Kejriwal announces ten guarantees, promises free electricity, allowance for women, unemployed

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Raipur: Seeking to make inroads in Chhattisgarh, Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday announced ten “guarantees” for the upcoming assembly polls in the Congress-ruled state including free electricity, monthly ‘samman rashi’ for women and Rs 3,000 monthly allowance for the unemployed.

Addressing an AAP workers’ convention here, the Delhi chief minister said his party’s governments in Delhi and Punjab have fulfilled the guarantees given to people, and if it comes to power in Chhattisgarh, it would do the same thing.
Kejriwal released a ‘guarantee card’ with details of nine promises, and said the tenth guarantee is about farmers and tribals but he will reveal it during his next visit.

The AAP had entered the electoral fray in Chhattisgarh for the first time in the 2018 assembly elections, fielding candidates in 85 of the total 90 seats, but drew a blank. None of its candidates even succeeded in saving the deposit.

“Today I am giving you ten guarantees which are not like a fake manifesto or ‘sankalp patra’. Kejriwal will die (if it comes to it) but fulfill these promises,” the AAP national convenor said at the event.

“I have never seen, in 76 years of independent India, a political party which has sought votes from people by promising to build good schools and hospitals. AAP is the only party which talks about issues. We haven’t entered politics to make money. People of Delhi have elected our government thrice. This happened because we must be doing something good,” he said.

The guarantees rolled out by Kejriwal included 24-hour uninterrupted power supply — free upto 300 units — to every household, waiver of pending electricity bills till November 2023, Rs 1,000 monthly ‘samman rashi’ (honorarium) to all women aged above 18 years and free quality education to school children.

All government schools in Chhattisgarh will be modernized as in Delhi, and private schools will not be allowed to charge hefty fees. All contractual teachers will be regularised and vacant posts of teachers will be filled up, he added.

As in Delhi, an AAP government will also provide free and better health treatment to every citizen of Chhattisgarh, set up mohalla clinics in every village and ward in cities, offer free pilgrimage for senior citizens, ensure corruption-free Chhattisgarh, give Rs 1 crore to the kin of personnel of state police and army jawans (who belong to Chhattisgarh) martyred in the line of duty, and regularize contractual employees, Kejriwal said.

About ten lakh unemployed people would be provided government jobs and the recruitment process will be carried out in a transparent manner by ending corruption and recommendations, he said.

An allowance of Rs 3,000 per month will be provided to unemployed persons, he added.

Kejriwal was accompanied by AAP leader and Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann during his visit to the state.
Kejriwal had addressed a public rally in Bilaspur last month. In March, he attended an AAP workers’ convention in Raipur.

In 2018 elections, AAP had projected tribal leader Komal Hupendi, who hails from Kanker district in Bastar region, as its Chief Ministerial candidate. Hupendi heads the party’s state unit.

But party sources here said that AAP’s national general secretary (organisation) Sandeep Pathak, who is a Rajya Sabha MP from Punjab, is also a leading candidate for the party’s CM face along with Hupendi.
Pathak hails from Mungeli district of Chhattisgarh.

Pathak’s role in AAP and his roots in Chhattisgarh were not much known before he became Rajya Sabha MP last year.
Pathak and Hupendi hail from Bilaspur and Bastar divisions, respectively, and the party has been focusing on seats in these two regions, sources said.

Among the five divisions in Chhattisgarh, Bilaspur division has the highest number of 24 assembly constituencies while Bastar division has 12 constituencies.

Senior journalist and political analyst R Krishna Das said the guarantees given by Kejriwal indicated that the AAP is trying to follow the Congress’s strategy last time when it had promised a slew of freebies.

Congress won 68 seats in 2018 assembly elections, ending 15 years of BJP rule, riding on promises like higher Minimum Support Price for paddy, loan waiver, half electricity bill scheme and regularization of contractual employees, he noted.

Both AAP and Congress are part of the opposition’s INDIA alliance at the national level. But in Chhattisgarh, the Kejriwal-led party is likely to eat into the vote share of the ruling Congress which would benefit the BJP, Das said.

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