Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal has promised Punjab a big incentive for votes in next year’s assembly elections — 24-hour electricity, 300 units free for each family and a waiver on previous power bills. Pointing to Delhi, where he made similar promises ahead of polls, Mr Kejriwal said, “This is Kejriwal’s promise, not Captain’s vows. We deliver our promises. Captain’s promises haven’t been fulfilled even after 5 years”.
Speaking at Chandigarh Press Club, the Delhi Chief Minister — who has been trying to add Punjab to his bag — said if AAP wins in Punjab, the power bill waiver promise will be met immediately.
Every household in the state will also get free electricity up to 300 units. “By doing this, around 77 per cent to 80 per cent people of Punjab will have zero electricity bill,” he said.
The promise of 24X7 power supply might take up to three years to meet, he warned his audience.
Ebullient after its 2015 victory in Delhi, AAP had hoped to bag neighbouring Punjab after two years. But its promises of a host of freebies including 25 lakh jobs, ₹ 5 meals, free WiFi, entrepreneurship schemes, old-age pensions and drug-free state had failed to draw enough votes.
AAP ended up with only 20 seats. The Congress scooped up 77 seats, ending the 10-year rule of the Akali-BJP government.
Indicating that the party has done its homework this time, Mr Kejriwal said they had reached out to people from across Punjab and found that they are “very unhappy” about the electricity costs. “Some women said electricity bills are sometimes of 50 per cent of the household income. How are they to manage?” he said.