Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced that the Aam Aadmi Party will provide 300 units of free electricity in Uttarakhand if it comes to power in the Assembly elections in the hill state in 2022.
At a press conference on Sunday, Kejriwal made a number of other promises related to electricity supply in Uttarakhand, as the Aam Aadmi Party looks to make its first foray in the state.
Kejriwal promised free electricity to farmers and a full waiver for all citizens on pending bills, pointing out that many of them have been charged arbitrarily. The Delhi chief minister also asserted that his party, if it comes to power, would ensure there are no power cuts in Uttarakhand.
Kejriwal asserted that the announcements he made were based on projections made by his party, which showed that the state government would have to incur a cost of Rs 1,200 crore to provide free electricity in Uttarakhand, while the total size of its budget was Rs 50,000 crore.
“Those in Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress say free electricity cannot be provided as the state is facing losses,” Kejriwal said. “Even the Delhi government was in loss when we took over. After five years, a CAG [Comptroller and Auditor General of India] report has shown that Delhi is the only state to have made profits [in its Budget].”
Kejriwal also sought to tap into the political crisis in Uttarakhand, suggesting that both the BJP and Congress are left without leaders. He accused both the parties of being hungry for power rather than being concerned about the state.
“The ruling party [BJP] does not have a chief minister,” Kejriwal said. “They appointed one and found him to be useless...Then they appointed another and he was no good either. On the other hand, the Opposition [Congress] has made several visits to Delhi and is yet unable to find a leader for itself.”
Kejriwal was referring to the political developments in Uttarakhand earlier this month, which resulted in BJP’s Pushkar Singh Dhami taking oath as the third chief minister of the state in less than four months. He assumed the post after BJP leader Tirath Singh Rawat resigned from the post following meetings with the central leadership. He was, in turn, made the chief minister after his predecessor Trivendra Singh Rawat resigned amid reports of discontent within the party.
Uttarakhand is one of the five states that are slated to go to polls in February-March 2022, along with neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa and Manipur.