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Pushed to the brink, Arvind Kejriwal banks on freebies again to retain Delhi throne

FE Online
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Pushed to the third position in the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections, Aam Aadmi Party chief and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday struck back with his tried and tested formula of winning the elections freebies for women in Delhi. Today, he announced that women will be allowed to travel on all DTC buses, cluster buses and metro trains free of cost so that they have safe travel experience and can access modes of transport which they were unable to on account of high prices.

Arvind Kejriwal is hoping that the move, less than a year before the assembly polls in the national capital, will help him return to power like four years ago when he announced free water and cheaper electricity in the national capital. His party had won 67 of the 70 assembly seats in 2015.

However, the popularity of Kejriwal and his party have been on a downward slope since then. The AAP is facing a tough time as many well-known founder leaders such as Kumar Vishwas, Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav have left the party over differences with Arvind Kejriwal. His move to send two outsiders Sushil Gupta and ND Gupta to Rajya Sabha were also questioned by many senior leaders inside the party.

The AAP’s slide was such that Kejriwal attempted to strike a coalition with the Congress in the recent Lok Sabha polls. Political analysts believed that Kejriwal knew he could not win the polls and was desperately trying to stitch an alliance with the party which had no seat in the assembly. However, talks fell through as both the parties could not agree on alliances in other states.

As expected, the BJP swept the state by winning all the seven seats. But what was worrying for Arvind Kejriwal that his party was pushed to the third position on 5 of 7 seats in 2014, the AAP candidates were runners-up on all of them. Worse, the AAP even failed to take lead in any of 70 assembly seats in the national capital, where it had won 67 seats with over 54 per cent vote share just four years ago. The saffron party could win just three seats with over 32 per cent vote share in the previous assembly polls.

AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal rode to power on promises of cheaper electricity and free water and has resorted to freebies yet again. Since the Congress is still in disarray and BJP lacking any prominent face to take on Kejriwal, the Delhi Chief Minister may make a comeback on these promises, provided he manages to implement them successfully.


Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari today slammed chief minister Arvind Kejriwal for promising to make metro and bus travel free for women in the national capital. He called it a gimmick to woo voters since the assembly election is near. “He (Arvind Kejriwal) knows that he will lose assembly election. This is why he is making such false promises. He will make many such false promises ahead of elections in Delhi,” Tiwari who is also MP from North East Delhi said.