Chandigarh, Jun 29 (PTI) AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday promised free electricity to every Punjab household that consumes up to 300 units of power if his party forms government in the state next year.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener did not clarify whether 300 units of free electricity will be given per month as Punjab has a two-month billing cycle.
In Delhi, the AAP government provides 200 units of free power per month.
Kejriwal, however, said if any household gets an electricity bill of 301 units, then the consumer will have to pay for the entire consumption.
The AAP later in a statement clarified that all existing beneficiaries like SCs, BCs, BPL families and freedom fighters will continue to get 200 units of free power and will be charged only over and above 300 units.
All other people who do not receive any electricity benefit at present will get only 300 free units. If this category consumes more than 300 units, then they will have to pay for the whole consumption, the party said in the statement.
Earlier, in a slew of promises ahead of the state Assembly polls early next year, Kejriwal told reporters here, 'The AAP government in Punjab will provide up to 300 units of free electricity to each family.' He said if voted to power, his party government will also waive arrears of domestic consumers.
There are many people in villages who got 'wrong' bills and their power connections were cut because of the non-payment and such people resorted to stealing power.
'They are living in fear. We will give them respectable lives. Therefore, their old domestic bills will be waived. Arrears and pending bills will be waived,' he said.
In another announcement, Kejriwal said if voted to power, AAP will provide 24-hour power supply on the lines of Delhi.
Dubbing pre-poll promises as 'Kejriwal's guarantee', he said despite a surplus power production in the state, long power cuts are imposed and people do not get electricity for farming.
'It is a Kejriwal guarantee and these are not Captain's (Amarinder Singh) promises,' he said.
Kejriwal said power in Punjab is the 'costliest' in the country despite the state being an electricity producer.
'We do not produce power in Delhi. We buy it from other states and despite that we have power in the national capital almost at the cheapest rates,' he said.
Kejriwal alleged a nexus between the power companies and the government.
'Because of this nexus, power is costly in Punjab,' he alleged.
'We have to eliminate this nexus. If this nexus is eliminated and we set the power companies right, then power can be cheaper in Punjab the same way it is in Delhi,' he stated.
The promises will be implemented at the first stroke of a pen, the Delhi CM said.
He, however, said it would take three to four years to implement the promise of giving 24-hour power supply while pointing out that it took him more than two years to ensure it in Delhi as he got power transmission lines and transformers changed.
The Delhi CM further said free power to the farming sector and subsidised electricity to the industries will continue.
To a question, Kejriwal said after six years of his party's rule in Delhi, electricity is free and the government and power companies are in profit, saying it is a “miracle” which only his party can do.
He said his opponents complained about doling out “freebies” but his government put money in people's pockets by eliminating those who were involved in illegal activities.
To a question on the desecration issue, Kejriwal promised those guilty of it will be given strict punishment.
He accused the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal of colluding with each other on the 2015 sacrilege issue and trying to 'save' culprits.
Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akali Dal slammed the AAP and accused Kejriwal of trying to introduce a “flop model” which had already “failed” in Delhi.
SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia said far from giving relief to the common man through subsidised power, the AAP will even do away with the 200 units per month free power provided to the poor, including the Dalits and backward classes.
The Delhi chief minister had clearly admitted that the party's promise of 300 units per bill cycle free power facility would only be applicable in case the consumption was less than 300 units, said Majithia.
BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh said after “cheating” people of Delhi, Kejriwal has embarked on a ' fool Punjab ' mission.
Chugh said Kejriwal could not fulfil the promise of free water and free power in Delhi and many other promises that he made in his election manifesto and now he is trying to 'befool' the people of Punjab. PTI CHS VSD RDK RDK