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In Gujarat, Kejriwal’s political moves keep the ruling BJP on its toes 

Aam Aadmi Party chief’s gimmicks have drawn sharp criticism from other parties

September 25, 2022 10:43 pm | Updated 10:43 pm IST - AHMEDABAD:

Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal during an interaction session for study and employment with the city’s youth, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, on September 25, 2022.

Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal during an interaction session for study and employment with the city’s youth, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, on September 25, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday invited a Dalit family from Ahmedabad to visit his house in New Delhi for dinner while the AAP would sponsor their air tickets.

What appeared as a smart political move to the Delhi CM was criticised while visiting the house of an auto-rickshaw driver for dinner in Ahmedabad’s Ghatlodia area, the Assembly constituency of Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel.

Also read | Every child in Gujarat will prosper if AAP comes to power: Kejriwal

Earlier this month, Mr. Kejriwal had taken a ride in an auto-rickshaw to reach one Vikrambhai’s residence amidst resistance from the Gujarat Police, who raised security concerns for the CM.

The move had triggered immense criticism as the CM drove the vehicle with the driver and policemen in the passenger-seat.

“Whether we accept or not, he has been making smart moves in Gujarat and sets the agenda that the BJP has to follow: be it in education and schools or in giving higher salaries to employees and now in dining with a Dalit family in Delhi,” a BJP legislator told The Hindu.

Mr. Kejriwal and his Punjab counterpart and party colleague Bhagwant Mann on Sunday interacted with the Dalit community members in Ahmedabad.

When invited by another person, Mr. Kejriwal said that in the run up to the elections, all politicians visit Dalit house to dine with them but “no political leader ever invites a Dalit family to his house for dinner.” He extended a similar invitation to the gentleman.

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann said that he would follow suit.

Since March this year, Mr. Kejriwal has made two dozen trips to various parts of the State holding interactions with different groups ranging from traders to lawyers, women, auto-rickshaw drivers and Dalits.

His pre-poll sops like free electricity to unemployment allowances in a way triggered the national debate on “freebies” or what the PM calls “revdi” while on the other hand, the BJP increased the salaries of the State employees and hiked their allowances in Gujarat.

On Sunday, Mr. Kejriwal attacked both the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress in equal measure in an attempt to pitch the AAP as an alternative to both in the State.

“I was seeing a wonderful message being shared in a Gujarat WhatsApp group that I follow. It says if you vote for Congress, then Sonia Gandhi’s son will prosper. If you vote for BJP, Amit Shah’s son will prosper, and if you vote for AAP, then every single child of Gujarat will prosper,” he said.

Also read | Gujarat AAP candidate questions alcohol prohibition, says it’s not bad, even doctors and officers drink it

He announced several measures for the State employees and said that the AAP government would end the contractual system and regularise all employees who had been hired on contractual appointments.

His earlier announcement of hiking the salaries of police personnel prompted the State administration to announce a package of ₹550 crore to increase the salaries of the police force. Subsequently, the government revised the salaries of different categories of employees after over a dozen different agitations by various unions in the State capital Gandhinagar.

“If you vote for the BJP, Amit Shah’s son will prosper, and if you vote for AAP, then every single child of Gujarat will prosper”Arvind KejriwalDelhi CM

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