New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday skipped any mention of the contentious CAA-NRC issue as he presented a detailed report card of his AAP government’s five-year term at a function at the party headquarters in the national capital.
The CM’s decision to steer clear of the polarising debate came less than 48 hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a two-hour long speech from Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan to launch the BJP’s Delhi election campaign and focused primarily on CAA-NRC.
In his nearly 27-minute speech, Kejriwal launched the party campaign for the Delhi assembly elections expected early next year.
Kejriwal’s silence on CAA-NRC, which has sparked protests across the country, signalled the party strategy to not involve itself with this issue. AAP has been on a tightrope walk with the CM opposing the move during interviews, but the party has stayed away from the agitations and public discussions so far.
On Tuesday, the AAP national convener limited the event’s focus to key governance promises fulfilled by his government besides an indirect comment on Modi’s rally.
“Baat toh bahut hoti hai Ramlila Maidan par, par kaam nahi hote (A lot of talk happens at Ramlila Maidan, not work),” said Kejriwal.
The passage of the Modi government’s Citizenship Amendment Act — which provides for citizenship to six non-Muslim communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan — in Parliament, and fears over the proposed National Register of Citizens have sharply divided the political class.
In private interviews, the Delhi CM has said NRC will affect the poor the most, regardless of religion, especially at a time the Indian economy is facing a significant slowdown.
Education biggest win, says CM
Arvind Kejriwal released ‘AAP Ka Report Card’ Tuesday to list out the top 10 achievements of his government in the last five years. The event saw all cabinet ministers of the state government in attendance as the CM announced key accomplishments.
Calling education AAP’s biggest success story, Kejriwal said the changes brought by his government helped state-run schools to provide as good if not better facilities than private schools, along with regular checks on rise in admission fee at private institutions.
Kejriwal then highlighted the free healthcare facilities provided to Delhi residents. He also spoke of free electricity and no power cuts in these five years.
“Delhi was known for scams,” he said, adding now people laud Delhi for its schemes — be it free public transport and bus rides for women or installation of CCTV cameras to ensure public safety.
He also referred to AAP’s effort to ensure doorstep delivery of basic services, by drawing a parallel to pizza delivery at our homes.
However, he acknowledged that while things have improved, the government plans to do more to address issues of water, tanker mafia and lack of city buses.
“It was the most honest government in post-Independent India. Today, we have a clean chit from all — CAG, Delhi Police, CBI, Income tax department,” he said.
Responding to rumours about CBI opening a new case against the party, he said, “Aap ka swagat hai, hum chahte hain aap aaiye please, hum kissi cheez se nahi darte (Come, we are not scared).”
AAP minister Gopal Rai said a formal door-to-door campaign will also begin from 26 December and go on until 7 January. Under this, AAP will undertake various campaigns over the next two weeks including seven town halls by Kejriwal, 700 mohalla sabhas by AAP MLAs, and door-to-door campaign by party volunteers.