Stop Freebies For Ministers, Not The Public: Raghav Chadha To NDTV

Stop Freebies For Ministers, Not The Public: Raghav Chadha To NDTV

“13 percent vote share in the first time in the ruling party’s stronghold is a big achievement,” he said.

New Delhi:

Aam Aadmi Party MP Raghav Chadha today said that his party forced Prime Minster Narendra Modi to “walk for 50 kms” in Gujarat to ensure a win in the Gujarat Assembly elections. 

“PM had to walk 50 kms, knock on doors of voters, our challenge forced them to sweat it out in the streets,” he said at the NDTV conclave ‘Sadda Punjab’ in Chandigarh, adding that AAP’s spirited campaign made BJP top leaders, including the PM, sweat it out in the streets.

On the impact of the AAP’s maiden win in the BJP bastion, Raghav Chadha said that after Gujarat polls, BJP’s win made less noise than AAP winning 5 seats and becoming a national party. 

He defended AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal declaring in written, repeatedly, that his party would form the government in the state, calling it a “campaign strategy”.

“All parties fight elections to win, nobody does it to lose. Amit Shah gave written assurance they would form the government in Bengal, look what happened. They can fit their MLAs there in an Innova car. It’s a campaign strategy. We were confident we would make our presence felt in a big way. I think that happened. 13 percent vote share and 5 seats in the first time in the ruling party’s stronghold is a big achievement,” Mr Chadha said.

He also slammed the PM’s “free revdi” comment on AAP’s pre-poll announcements, challenging the BJP to announce that they would stop all special benefits to MPs. “Is that not free revdi?” he asked, accusing the PM of being selective in what they call freebies.

Money comes to governments from taxpayers, through both direct and indirect taxes, and the government has to spend on their welfare, he said, defending AAP’s promises of free electricity, education, and healthcare, among other, adding that India is constitutionally a welfare state.

“Our model is that everyone has basic amenities like free electricity, education, and healthcare. That’s how people will be empowered. Empowered people lead to an empowered community, region, state and eventually an empowered country,” he said.

He trained his guns on the BJP, which has repeatedly called the AAP’s pre-poll announcements freebies that impose a huge cost on the state’s treasury. “Every MP gets 3,000 to 4,000 units of free electricity, along with free air travel, petrol, housing etc. When BJP gives all its leaders such things for free, then it’s not free revdi, but when Arvind Kejriwal does it for the people, then they call it revdi,” he said.

“I challenge the BJP to stop all free revdi for MPs,” he added.

Raghav Chadha then claimed the AAP government, without imposing any new taxes, has increased its state budget despite all of these welfare schemes that the BJP scoffs at. “Our budget has increased from around 27,000 crore to over 70,000 crore without even one extra tax,” he argued, taunting the BJP on loans India has amassed from the world in the last eight years.

“From 1947 to 2014, total loans on the India government was Rs 55 lakh crore, now it has increased to 135 lakhs crore. PM Modi-led central government took 85 lakh crore in loans just in the last eight years, much more than all other ruling parties combined took since independence. They don’t even distribute revdi, then how did they get us in so much debt?” he asked.

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