Delhi Assembly polls: Refrain from subsidy talk till manifesto, BJP MPs told

Abhinav Rajput

Union minister Prakash Javadekar with BJP leaders Vijay Goel and Shazia Ilmi at an event to recruit AAP volunteers into the party. Express Photo by Prem Nath Pandey

The BJP central leadership is learnt to have taken exception to “divergent” views being aired by party MPs on the issue of subsidies currently being offered by the Aam Aadmi Party government, and has asked its leaders to speak in one voice ahead of the elections. This comes after contradictory statements by party MPs gave fresh ammunition to the AAP to target them on the issue.

While Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari recently said the BJP will provide five times what AAP promises, East Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir recently said “we should make promises we can fulfil”.

Soon afterwards, AAP MP Sanjay Singh la unched an attack on Gambhir, saying he is against free services that benefit the poor, and that he should surrender free facilities, including 50,000 units of electricity, that an MP is entitled to.

Gambhir hit back: “I have never said that poor should not get free services. Only that people who can afford should be charged a nominal amount. I have not taken a single government benefit in 8 months unlike your hypocrite CM who had been advertising himself at the taxpayers’ expense for 5 years.”

BJP’s West Delhi MP Parvesh Saheb Singh has meanwhile said a token amount of Rs 1 will be charged for free electricity and water for “self respect” of residents of Delhi, so they do not feel like they are availing freebies. But party MP Meenakshi Lekhi, a day later, said the party is yet to take a final decision on the issue, and one should wait for the manifesto.

Sources said BJP in-charge of Delhi Prakash Javadekar met some MPs Tuesday and advised them to wait for the manifesto before taking a line on the issue of subsidies. A senior BJP leader said the leaders were advised to refrain from commenting on the matter till then.

Tiwari, when contacted, said: “Things are being misinterpreted by habitual liars AAP to suit their political interests. I have repeatedly said we will definitely give minimum five times the benefits AAP has claimed to give during their 5-year tenure. There are several central schemes being stopped by AAP, like Ayushman Bharat and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, which when implemented, would be beneficial for Delhi residents.” He added that if BJP comes to power, it will not alter existing subsidies.