In an evident bid to woo Hindu voters, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal has promised Rs 40 per day for the upkeep of every cow in Gujarat if his party is voted to power.
The Delhi chief minister has also promised a shelter home for non-milch cattle in every district of the state. Kejriwal’s Sunday announcement is another desperate bid to counter the ruling BJP in Gujarat, say political experts.
“In Delhi, we give Rs 40 per cow per day. The Delhi government gives Rs 20, and another Rs 20 is given by the municipal corporation. If the AAP is voted to power in Gujarat, we will provide Rs 40 per cow per day for their upkeep,” Kejriwal said at a press conference in Rajkot.
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Panjrapole (shelters for cattle) will be constructed in every district for non-milch cows and those roaming on roads, said Kejriwal. The AAP national convener also assured that the AAP government would take all necessary steps for the benefit of cows in the state.
His announcement has come at a time when panjrapole owners have been protesting against the Gujarat government over its alleged failure to release a promised package for the shelter homes.
Asked about the Ahmedabad auto-rickshaw driver, at whose house Kejriwal dined but who later said he supports the BJP, the AAP chief said he does not discriminate against people based on the party they support.
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“Whether they are from the Congress or BJP, they all invite me for dinner. I visit them without considering which party they vote for. They can vote for any party they like. If you call me for a meal, I will not ask you which party you vote for,” he said.
Kejriwal said the AAP, if voted to power, will work for all people without discriminating against any political party.
Kejriwal also claimed that the BJP and opposition Congress have united to “cut into AAP votes.” He further claimed that a source told him about an “IB report.” According to it, if the Gujarat Assembly elections are held today, the AAP will form the government in the state, but by a thin margin.
“Ever since the report has come, both these parties have united. They are conducting secret meetings, and the BJP has freaked out. Both the parties are using the same language to abuse the AAP,” he claimed. He added that the BJP was trying to “strengthen the Congress to divide the anti-BJP vote.”
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“The Congress has been given the responsibility to eat into AAP votes. Some Congress leaders wanted to join the BJP, but the BJP asked them to stay in the Congress so as not to weaken it further,” he claimed.
“Futile to vote for Congress”
Kejriwal also claimed the Congress will not win more than 10 seats in the 182-member Gujarat Assembly. According to him, the winning Congress leaders will also join the BJP.
“It is futile to vote for the Congress and not in the interest of Gujarat. All those who are upset with the BJP should vote for the AAP. I appeal to the people to push hard to break the Delhi and Punjab record (of AAP’s victory in those states),” he said.
Kejriwal further claimed that “Congress MLAs are in the BJP’s pocket.” “BJP buys as many Congress MLAs as it needs and keeps others in stock. As we can see all over the country, they have made a joint strategy to defeat AAP,” the Delhi CM claimed.
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Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann, who was present at the press conference, claimed the BJP was adopting the same strategy in Punjab.
Promise of jobs, inflation relief
Kejriwal also claimed that the announcement of a Rs 20,000-crore package by Prime Minister Narendra Modi would benefit only contractors and ministers, but the public would not get anything. “The public wants better education, jobs, reduction in cost of electricity and water, and relief from inflation. We have done this in Delhi and Punjab and will also do it in Gujarat,” he said.
Kejriwal and Mann addressed a public rally at Surendranagar in Saurashtra region on Sunday. They were scheduled to address another rally in Khedbrahma of Sabarkantha district in north Gujarat.
The AAP leaders are on a two-day Gujarat visit over the weekend, ahead of the Assembly polls in the BJP-ruled state due later this year. On Saturday, Kejriwal and Mann addressed public meetings at Gandhidham in Kutch district and Joshipura in Junagadh district. On Saturday night, Kejriwal participated in a garba celebration in Rajkot.
(With agency inputs)