Remarking that Goa is “a first class State regrettably saddled with “third class politicians”, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday exhorted the Goan public to root out the ruling BJP, promising that the AAP would “establish the first corruption-free government” in the State after the 2022 Assembly election.
Addressing a massive rally in Panjim, Mr. Kejriwal attacked the BJP, the Congress and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) – Goa’s oldest regional party – for having given the people nothing but scam-tainted governance since the coastal State’s liberation from Portuguese rule in 1961.
Decrying the horse-trading frenzy before the elections, Mr. Kejriwal said the Congress, which did not have any strong candidates today, was a virtually empty party with just two MLAs in the 40-seat Assembly.
“At the time of my flight to Goa, the Congress had three MLAs. By the time my flight touched down, the Congress had just two…The people of Goa had given the Congress 17 MLAs after the 2017 Assembly election of whom 15 were ‘sold’. Now, only a little ‘stock’ is remaining in the market [in form of two of its MLAs]. There is heavy discount before fresh arrivals in March [after the poll results]. Anyone can buy this last stock,” Mr. Kejriwal said, mocking the Congress’ plight. He remarked that he didn’t understand politics, and least of all that of Goa where the buying and selling of MLAs and candidates was routine.
The AAP leader said the Congress had ruled Goa for 27 years, while the BJP and the MGP had ruled the State for 15 years each and had given nothing to the people except a legacy of corruption.
“These parties have provided no electricity, no water, no medical facilities while we [the AAP] have created magic in Delhi in just five years…The people of Goa are good and hard-working. They deserve better politicians,” he said, remarking that if it came to power, the AAP would provide a government which had “zero tolerance for corruption.”
Stating that the Goan people were intensely resentful of the BJP, the Delhi CM said the saffron party had “stocked its cabinet with pearls” in the form of scam-tainted ministers.
“There is one minister who was involved in a sex scandal [Milind Naik] and had to resign. Another was involved in an oxygen scam while another minister [Deepak Pauskar] is accused of selling jobs in his department and reportedly takes ₹20 lakh for it… The AAP will end all this corruption. Furthermore, our candidates will be made to sign an affidavit so that people have the right to take the candidate to court if he changes his party before elections,” said the AAP leader, adding that his party had no wish to buy or sell candidates.
Unveiling the AAP’s ‘Goa model of development’, Mr. Kejriwal said his party had a copyright in ‘providing zero electricity bills’ and would replicate the AAP’s Delhi achievements in Goa as well.
“There are no power cuts in Delhi today. Prior to it, there used to be six-seven hours of power cuts… We have a copyright on providing ‘zero electricity bills’,” he said.
Calling for a systemic change in Goa, Mr. Kejriwal promised that the AAP would re-start the mining business within six months and do what the BJP could not do for ten years.
“We will re-start mining within six months of forming the government. Till then, those dependent on the mining industry will be given a subvention of ₹5,000 every month. Likewise, we will provide employment allowance of ₹3,000 per month for those who have not yet been able to secure a job,” Mr. Kejriwal promised.
Mr. Kejriwal also repeated his earlier promise of a free pilgrimage for those keen to visit to the ‘Ram Janmabhoomi’.