In the midst of a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into Delhi’s now scrapped liquor policy, Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal on Monday announced five guarantees to the people of Gujarat, including overhauling and improving the quality of the State’s healthcare and education.
Mr. Kejriwal and his Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, whose residence was raided by the Central agency in connection with alleged corruption in the liquor excise policy, came here on two-day visit to step-up campaigning for the AAP in poll-bound Gujarat.
Talking to media, both praised each other while slamming the State’s ruling BJP for targeting them to stop the good work the AAP governments in the national capital and in Punjab were doing in the field of education and healthcare.
Mr. Sisodia called Mr. Kejriwal his “political guru” and said that he [Mr. Sisodia] would never betray him [Mr. Kejriwal], claiming that the BJP had conveyed he [Mr. Sisodia] would be projected as the CM in Delhi if he split from the AAP.
When asked the name of the person who sent him message, Mr. Sisodia responded, “The person who sent me the message told me that he was behind making Suvendu Adhikari in West Bengal, Himanta Biswa Sarma in Assam, Narayan Rane and others join the BJP. He said I could trust him because he is the man who works on making people join the BJP.” He, however, did not reveal the name of the person.
Mr. Kejriwal, in his praise for Mr. Sisodia, who handles the Education and Finance portfolios in the Delhi Government, said that “he [Mr. Sisodia] should be given a Bharat Ratna” for the landmark work he had done to overhaul the education sector in the national capital.
“In every village of the State [Gujarat], there will be a clinic to provide basic healthcare services and a school,” Mr. Kejriwal said, briefing media persons jointly with his Deputy CM in Ahmedabad.
Mr. Sisodia said good education is the right of every child in Gujarat, irrespective of whether he lives in a village, or city, or studies in a government or private school.
“First of all, the government schools will be modernised, teachers will be recruited, and quality will be improved so that free education is provided to the children,” Mr. Sisodia said, adding government schools will be made better than private schools.
On healthcare, Mr. Kejriwal said said that all government hospitals will be modernised and equipped with state-of-the-art amenities to provide free treatment, tests, medicines, and surgeries.
“In Gujarat, government healthcare services are being phased out to force people to rely on private healthcare providers that charge exorbitant fees. In Delhi, we improved the government health system and made treatment available to the public for free,” Mr. Kejriwal said during his fifth visit to the State in less than a month.
According to him, everyone in Gujarat would receive free and high quality healthcare, and there would not be any discrimination between the wealthy and the poor — both would be able to obtain high quality medical care in government hospitals and clinics the AAP government would set up.
Taking on the ruling party, Mr. Kejriwal said the condition of State-run schools and hospitals in Gujarat was testimony to 27 years of “misgovernance” by the ruling BJP. “If you give them another chance, they will waste another five years,” he said.
“There are over one crore school-going children in Gujarat, among whom 53-54 lakh study in government schools while the remaining go to private schools. Both are being cheated as there is no quality in the government schools while private schools charge exorbitantly. The future of one crore children will improve through our guarantee, which will be a big deal for Gujarat and its people,” Mr. Kejriwal said.
During the media interaction, the Delhi CM also defended the government’s excise policy, and added that it had to be taken back due to pressure from Central agencies and Delhi’s Lieutenant-Governor.