Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (File/Express Photo By Amit Mehra)
A war of words broke out between Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari, after the latter said the BJP will provide five times the subsidy that is being provided by the Aam Aadmi Party government if BJP comes into power.
Tiwari had made the statement at a press conference on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Kejriwal asked Tiwari to spell out the promise in clear terms.
“What does it mean when when you say five times the subsidy? Will you give 1,000 units of power instead of 200 units? One lakh litres of free water instead of 20,000 litres? You are making fun of people by making such promises. Implement it in any state governed by the BJP before Delhi polls,” Kejriwal tweeted.
Several BJP leaders have criticised AAP for “giving freebies” to people such as the free power and free travel for women on buses schemes. Responding to Kejriwal, Tiwari said: “The Delhi BJP will give at least five times whatever you claim to have given to people in the past five years. We will start giving this after coming to power in February. Please tell us how much benefit you gave per household in the past five years.”
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also hit out at the BJP, claiming that states governed by the party shut down government schools instead of starting new ones.
“The Haryana government shut 208 schools between 2015-2018... The erstwhile BJP-Akali ruled Punjab is no better, with 217 government schools being closed in the last three years. In UP, it’s a shocking state of affairs; more than 40% of a total 1,13,500 primary schools don’t have electricity. Children are forced to attend classes in these pathetic conditions. In Delhi, 109 primary schools have been shut by the BJP-ruled MCDs in the last nine years, with the number going down from 1,764 in 2011-12 to 1,655 in 2019-20. Quality of education in MCD schools is so poor... when children pass out from Class V and join a Delhi government school in Class VI, they are unable to read even books of Class II,” he alleged.
Enrolment in government schools has been dipping consistently across states and cities. According to officials, a large number of schools are being merged to increase efficiency. Sisodia also said enrolment in Delhi government schools has increased by 6,000 in the last four years.