Sisodia takes on BJP: People of Delhi are not up for sale

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Sisodia made the remarks at a press conference that also saw the launch of AAP’s campaign song. (Express Photo: Amit Mehra)

Every vote for the BJP would encourage the gradual erosion of the free power, water and transport schemes in the capital, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said Saturday, mounting a strident defence of the subsidy model of the AAP government.

Sisodia alleged that a senior BJP national general secretary suggested that the people of Delhi are “up for sale”, which was an “insult” to those benefitting from the subsidies. He demanded an apology from Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP working president J P Nadda over the statement.

Sisodia claimed the BJP has planned to launch a campaign ‘Dilli ka Swabhiman’ (Delhi’s self-respect) with the theme ‘Dilli bikaau nahi hai’ (Delhi is not up for sale).

“BJP has insulted the people of Delhi by using the term. Availing subsidised services of the government doesn’t make people ‘bikaau’. BJP national general secretary Anil Jain has made the comment. I want to emphasise that people are not ‘bikaau’, they are the real ‘masters’,” Sisodia told a press conference.

Sisodia said every individual, irrespective of whether she is a daily wage labourer or a white collar worker, pays taxes, and the AAP government is merely putting that money to good use by building classrooms, and subsidising education, health, power, water and transport in Delhi.

“Paying tax is anyway a burden on people, but when you charge people to provide services which have been funded from tax collected from them, you add a double burden. We ended this. People pay taxes and it is the government’s duty to provide services to them,” said Sisodia.

In Delhi, households consuming up to 200 units of electricity and 20,000 litres water per month get zero bills, with the state government footing their bills. For electricity consumption between 201-400 units, the government gives a subsidy of 50%.

Since 2015, the AAP has also launched a number of schemes in the healthcare sector, while in October 2019, the free rides scheme for women in public buses was launched.