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Congress describes Arvind Kejriwal as corrupt, ideologically bankrupt

Party warns voters in election-bound Gujarat not to fall for 'fake Delhi model' that was intended to 'fool' people
Arvind Kejriwal.
Arvind Kejriwal.
File photo

Sanjay K. Jha   |   New Delhi   |   Published 14.09.22, 02:04 AM

The Congress on Tuesday described Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal as corrupt and ideologically bankrupt, warning voters in election-bound Gujarat not to fall for the “fake Delhi model” that was intended to “fool” people.

Accusing Aam Aadmi Party national convener Kejriwal of staging a drama on the streets of Gujarat by riding an autorickshaw, Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar said: “The Delhi chief minister has forced the Punjab government to spend Rs 36 crore in the last two months on TV and newspaper advertisements in Gujarat. A chartered plane is booked in Punjab for his Gujarat visit for Rs 45 lakh. The Punjab government doesn’t have money to pay staff salaries. Earlier, Delhi’s money was squandered in Punjab to win the election.”

The Congress spokesperson pointed to what the party believed was Kejriwal’s hypocrisy and politics of deception by alleging that his Delhi model, much like Narendra Modi’s Gujarat model, was designed to fool the people.

Kumar said: “Two students were given loans of Rs 10 lakh under the Delhi Higher Education and Skill Development Guarantee Scheme. Then the Aam Aadmi Party government spent Rs 19 crore on advertisement after disbursing loans of only Rs 20 lakh. Similarly, Rs 68 lakh was spent on the stubble decomposer scheme and Rs 23 crore was spent to advertise it.”

Calling him “No. 1 corrupt”, Kumar said the faster people recognised Kejriwal’s persona, the safer it was for Indian politics.

The then ruling Congress tried its best to explain the perceived hollowness of the Delhi model to voters of Punjab but people trusted Kejriwal’s AAP and the Bhagwant Singh Mann government was formed earlier this year.

Now, the AAP has made deep inroads into Gujarat, trying to dislodge the Congress as the main Opposition, and the Congress is again struggling to convince the people that the AAP was propped up by the RSS to help the BJP by slicing away anti-incumbency votes.

Describing the AAP as “Arvind Advertisement Party”, the Congress said Kejriwal had been allotted luxury vehicles such as a Land Cruiser by the Punjab government and an MG Gloster by the Delhi government even though he had taken a public vow not to opt for government vehicles and accommodation after coming to power. Kumar said: “He spent Rs 20 crore on the renovation of his official residence. He stays in five-star hotels in Gujarat and does a street drama by riding an auto. The people of Gujarat should see through his facade.”

Insisting that the AAP government in Delhi was the most untrustworthy and corrupt, Kumar added: “The Delhi liquor policy was hailed as the best while it facilitated loot. Under the previous policy, the Delhi government used to get a tax of Rs 223 from a bottle costing Rs 350. The new policy reduced the tax amount to Rs 1.90 per bottle. Similarly, on new DTC buses, maintenance was free for two years but the government gave a contract of Rs 30 per km for maintenance. Delhi has seen corruption of humongous proportions under Kejriwal.”

While even the BJP has branded the Kejriwal government corrupt, with the CBI investigating the liquor policy and several ministers being in jail, the Congress went a step ahead and called him “ideologically bankrupt”.

The Congress has often drawn attention to Kejriwal’s ideological intimacy with the RSS, pointing out that the entire Anna Hazare movement before the 2014 change of guard was sponsored by the RSS and BJP-backed corporate houses. Kumar said: “What was Kejriwal’s stand on Jammu and Kashmir? Did he say anything on the Hathras and Bilkis Bano cases?”

The role of the Kejriwal government during the 2020 Delhi riots has been fiercely debated by political observers and non-BJP parties, and Kejriwal’s reluctance to speak on polarising issues and the use of religiosity for mass mobilisation has also been noticed.

Kejriwal, who never claimed to be opposed to the RSS’s Hindutva, had projected the AAP as a “kattar (staunch) honest party” but is now facing several charges of wrongdoing. He has also shown the tendency of giving clean chits to himself and his ministers instead of waiting for judicial clearance.

All these, however, hasn’t deterred him from making corruption the main plank of the AAP’s Gujarat campaign. Alleging widespread graft in the state, Kejriwal on Tuesday promised to deliver a “corruption-free Gujarat”.

When a reporter asked him about the Punjab government being forced to give out advertisements to the Gujarat media, he said: “Don’t take questions from the Congress. The Congress is dead.”

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