Avoiding Kejriwal: What’s Troubling Modi?
The spat between AAP and BJP escalates as Kejriwal is sent packing before reaching the Gujarat CM’s residence. But the questions he raised in his list deserve a response
Souzeina S Mushtaq Delhi
Towards the end of his four-day Gujarat tour, former chief minister of Delhi and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal was stopped by the Gandhinagar Police from driving up to the residence of Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat.
Citing that he had not sought prior appointment with the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, the police stopped his car two kilometres from Modi’s home. After a brief confrontation, Kejriwal’s close aide Manish Sisodia then visited Modi's office to seek an appointment but he was told Modiji was busy all day.
As he waited for nearly an hour in his car, Kejriwal said he does not have any other option. “They don’t answer questions, they don’t reply to letters,” he said.
Earlier this morning, Kejriwal had announced that he would drop by to meet the Gujarat CM with his list of 16 questions that challenge Modi’s claim of the so called development in Gujarat. Addressing an open press conference, the AAP leader had said that during his Gujarat tour, what he saw was the opposite of what was being claimed.
“There was a lot of talk about how progressive Gujarat has been, but what we have witnessed in the last two days is the exact opposite. What we saw in Gujarat is quite shocking.”
Denouncing the AAP’s act of taking a dig at Modi, BJP leader Arun Jaitely tweeted, "AAP's politics now includes the Right to gate crash, the right to a violent protest and the Right to take liberties with the truth.”
Kejriwal’s road show began on the day dates for the General Elections were announced, and since then has landed him in trouble. Yesterday, AAP leaders, including Ashutosh and Shazia Ilmi, were taken for questioning by the Delhi Police after workers from both the parties, the BJP and the AAP, took to stone pelting. The Election Commission had said that they violated the code of conduct.
Insiders in the AAP say if Modi runs for Parliament from anywhere outside Gujarat, Kejriwal is likely to stand against him.
Here are the 16 questions Kejriwal wants Modi to answer:
- Gujarat government is demanding to increase the gas prices in KG Basin to $16 per unit. UPA government has already changed the prices from $4 to $8, which has caused huge uproar. If you become the PM of India, will you allow gas prices to increase?
- Is it true that your government is purchasing solar energy at Rs 13 per unit without a tender? In Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, after tendering, the cost is Rs 7.5 and Rs 5.5 per unit respectively. Why are you buying solar energy at such high prices?
- According to the government statistics of 2006-07, the agricultural production was Rs 27, 815 crore, whereas in 2012-13, it reduced to Rs 25,908 crore. The agricultural production has gone down by -1.18 per cent in your tenure. How can you claim that it has grown by 11 per cent?
- In the last 10 years, two-thirds of Gujarat’s small-scale industries have closed down. In Mehsana district, 140 out of 187 units have been shut down. Why do small businesses keep shutting? Will you concentrate power in the hands of some big industrial houses?
- You claim to have wiped out corruption in Gujarat, but people talk about corruption across the state. Why do you make this claim?
- Your Cabinet is full of ministers who have criminal records. Didn’t you get one honest man among six crore Gujaratis?
- Unemployment is high in Gujarat. For one job with 1500 posts, 13 lakh people applied. Where is development?
- You hire young educated youth and pay them as little as Rs 5,300 per month. How will they feed their families?
- Education system is in shambles. Government schools are in bad condition. In one of our surveys, we found colleges where, for 600 students, you have one principal and three teachers. Don’t you want the poor to get education?
- Public health services are poor. The hospitals are in pits. Why is that?
- The farmers are unhappy with your government. There is no subsidy for them. As many as 800 farmers have committed suicide. Why is your government indifferent to them?
- There is no electricity in your villages. Over 4 lakh applications by farmers for power connections are still pending. Why?
- Your government is grabbing land from poor farmers and giving to big industries. There is either no compensation or low compensation for them. Are you favouring big industries?
- Despite increasing the Narmada dam height, why have not Kutch farmers received their share of water?
- In your speech in Punjab, you had claimed that Sikhs living in Kutch would be taken care of. Why has their land being taken? Why has your government filed a case against them?
- You use choppers and planes for your personal use. Who is paying for them? Why don’t you make the expenses public?