Kejriwal offers prayers at Ayodhya, vows to bring more pilgrims

2022 elections will be AAP’s first serious foray into U.P. politics

Updated - October 27, 2021 04:21 am IST

Published - October 26, 2021 10:04 pm IST - New Delhi

Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal in Ayodhya on October 26, 2021.

Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal in Ayodhya on October 26, 2021.

Setting the tone for his campaign for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal offered prayers at the Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya on Tuesday. He said his government would include Ayodhya in the Delhi Government’s free pilgrimage scheme.

In his two-day visit to Ayodhya, this was his third stop at a temple. On Monday, he offered aarti at the Saryu river and on Tuesday he offered prayers at the Hanumangarhi temple too.

“I was fortunate that I got the chance to bow before Ram Lalla and I wish everyone must get this chance. Whatever capability I have, I will use that to make more and more people have ‘darshan’ here,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Mr. Kejriwal had unsuccessfully contested against Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi. Though a distant second, he managed to get a little over 20% votes. The 2022 elections will be the Aam Aadmi Party’s first serious foray into Uttar Pradesh politics. The party has announced that it will contest in all 403 seats.

Making his first election promise for the State, Mr. Kejriwal said he would bring more pilgrims to Ayodhya. He said, “In Delhi, we are running the ‘Chief Minister’s Tirth Yatra Yojana’ under which free pilgrimage is provided to the people of Delhi to all the pilgrim places. We will have a special Cabinet meeting on Wednesday in which Ayodhya will be included in the scheme.”

Under this scheme, Delhiites were provided travel by AC trains and stay in AC hotels and all the expenses were borne by the Delhi Government. This service would be free of charge, he said.

Under the ‘Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana’ for senior citizens, the Delhi Government bears the expenses of about 77,000 pilgrims every year. Delhi residents above the age of 60 are covered under this scheme.

On being asked whether he had made any donation for construction of the Ram Temple, Mr. Kejriwal said, “I have also donated for Ram Mandir but donations must always be kept a secret”.

Mr. Kejriwal’s visit to the Ram Temple was not a first for the party. The AAP had formally kicked off its poll campaign in September with its senior leaders Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh offering prayers at the Ram Janmabhoomi and Hanumangarhi shrine in the temple town. The party had also taken out a ‘Tiranga Yatra’ in Ayodhya from the 18th Century mausoleum of Nawab Shujaudaulah to the Gandhi Park.

The other poll promises include 300 units of electricity free of cost to all domestic consumers, waiver of outstanding bills of 38 lakh families and ensuring 24x7 power supply in Uttar Pradesh if the AAP is voted to power in the Assembly elections.

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