Wednesday, Dec 07, 2022

Punjab Polls: ‘We will cut drug supply line in 4 weeks; rehab in 6 months’, says Arvind Kejriwal

AAP convener and Delhi CM, visiting Chandigarh, discusses Punjab polls and their manifesto.

arvind-kejriwal-punjab-759 Arvind Kejriwal in Mohali Thursday. Express Photo Jasbir Malhi

How do you think AAP will fare in Punjab?

We will win with a massive majority (waves internal survey reports). As I have always said, our seats will be in three digits [out of 117].

Even in Majha and Doaba regions?

Yes. In all three regions — Malwa, Doaba, Majha — the reports are very encouraging. What is the AAP’s plank?

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Besides our health and education agenda in Delhi, we will concentrate on rooting out corruption, drugs and unemployment, and revival of trade and industry. We will cut the supply line of drugs in four weeks, [with] rehabilitation in six months. We have prepared a detailed blueprint. Neither of these parties [Congress and SAD] can stop the menace, because their people sell drugs. … If you vote for Congress it means you are voting for drugs. The same goes for SAD.

And what is the blueprint for industry?

When we formed the government in Delhi, traders and industrialists believed they were BJP’s vote bank. Now they think they are AAP’s vote bank, because we have done away with inspector raj… It is my promise to traders and industrialists that we will stop inspector raj in Punjab. Industry wants electricity made cheaper. We will certainly do that, they have to compete… We will do away with tax structure anomalies vis-a-vis other states.

What about central inconsistencies, such as a tax holiday for hill states but not for Punjab?

A state can do a lot to compensate industrialists. There are many other ways. What is your solution for industries like steel, facing a global slowdown? We will sit down and make policies separately… Each industry has its own obstacles. In Delhi, we simplified procedures. We have the intent. If I had to make money, that the lower rung officials would make money and send it right up to the CM, I would have complicated the procedures by creating artificial obstacles… Woh agar ayenge to obstacles hi create karenge [if the Congress or SAD come to power, they will create obstacles].

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There have been cash-for-votes allegations against AAP leaders. I always say, show me proof. Otherwise, it becomes easy for those not getting tickets to level such allegations. When they are upset at not getting tickets, Captain’s [Amarinder Singh] people and the Badals’ people catch hold of them and get them to address a press conference.

Who is your more formidable rival? The Badals or Amarinder?

Corruption and nasha are the most formidable rivals for me. The fight between the two of them is for the second and third positions.

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Haven’t your personal comments against Amarinder taken the discourse to a new low? What have I said (laughs)? I just compared the characteristics of our CM with Capt saab. Media asks me who our CM candidate will be. I said our CM will wake up at 5 am as Capt saab wakes up at 11 am. Our CM will be available for the public and work till 10 pm…

Are you worried that AAP peaked too early in Punjab?

No, we did not peak early. This was a media creation. Our graph has been stable. Has the exit of convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur dented your prospects?

That was a good thing we did. He was selling tickets. AAP could never tolerate this. But that video supposedly showing him taking money never came out. Unhone maan hi liya… I was getting many complaints. I asked for proof. A person came with the proof. Didn’t that episode give rise to an ‘Outsiders vs Punjabis’ battle in AAP? No. Other parties made it an issue. The people of Punjab never said anything.

First published on: 06-01-2017 at 03:27:03 am
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