Independence Day address | With an eye on Lok Sabha polls, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal lays down blueprint to fix India’s schools, health care, make Bharat ‘Vishwa Guru’

“My dream is to not end the poor’s poverty, my dream is to make each poor person rich,” says Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal.

Updated - August 16, 2023 11:59 am IST

Published - August 15, 2023 01:29 pm IST - New Delhi 

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. File

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. File | Photo Credit: PTI

With an eye on the 2024 Lok Sabha election, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on August 15 laid down a blueprint for fixing the country’s schools and health care system, and also giving free electricity up to 200 units a month for all citizens, while delivering his Independence Day address. 

Training his guns on the BJP, the AAP supremo said that in the past few years, some selected billionaires’ — ₹12 lakh crore — debts were waived off. 

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“Our country will have to make a decision today: Should the government work for some selected billionaires or for the 140 crore people?” Mr. Kejriwal asked at Independence Day celebrations of the Delhi government at Chhatrasal Stadium. 

The AAP in the past has accused the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being hand in glove with top businessmen. Mr. Kejriwal also raised a question on who is benefitting from the violence in various parts of the country. 

“Today is an opportunity for happiness, but in a corner of the mind there is sorrow. In some parts of the country, one brother is fighting with another brother. Manipur is burning. In Manipur, people of one community are fighting with people of the other community and killing each other. Who is benefitting from this? People of both the communities are being affected. In Haryana, two communities are fighting with each other. Who is benefitting from this? If we fight among ourselves, then how will India become ‘Vishwa Guru’?” he said. 

“When we formed the government in Punjab and started giving free power till 200 units, some people made fun of me, insulted me and said ‘Kejriwal is giving “free ki revdi”’. Today, I’m keeping two options in front of the country. If we need to waive power bills of all 140 crore Indians upto 200 units, it will cost only ₹1.5 lakh crore. And we read in newspapers that four billionaires’ debt of ₹1.5 lakh crore is waived off by banks. Should power bills of 140 crore people be waived upto 200 units or four billionaires’ ₹1.5 lakh crore of debt in banks should be waived? The country should decide and whatever people say, that should happen,” he said. 

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“Today I’m keeping a plan before you: In five years, all 10 lakh government schools in the country can be made better than private schools. In Delhi, the results of Delhi government schools are better than private schools. Delhi government schools have left private schools behind. We know how to do it. To fix all 10 lakh government schools in the country, we need ₹6 lakh crores,” Mr. Kejriwal said, adding that for a country like India it is not a big amount.  

He said that to run these schools, the government needs ₹7.5 lakh crore and even now that amount is spent. “So, if we end corruption, we don’t need any extra money,” he said. 

“My dream is to not end the poor’s poverty, my dream is to make each poor person rich. A poor person can become rich when his son becomes doctor, engineer... when his son gets a good education,” the AAP chief said.

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