In a veiled attack on the BJP, Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal Sunday accused the Gujarat government is protecting the Oreva Group and its owner in the aftermath of the Morbi bridge collapse in which 135 people, including 55 children, were killed.
“It is sad that the tragedy happened but what is sadder is, the people responsible for the tragedy…an attempt is being made to protect them. The FIR lodged does not name the company or its owner. Why? Why are they being protected? What is the relationship between these people and them (BJP)? There must be some relationship… If you bring the double-engine to power, the Morbi bridge will collapse. If you bring a new engine, a beautiful Morbi bridge will be made,” said Kejriwal during a three-kilometre roadshow at Wankaner in Morbi district.
The Wankaner Assembly constituency, which is about 40 kilometres from the Morbi town where the mishap occurred on October 30, has been a Congress stronghold where Mohammed Javed Pirzada has been the MLA for the last three terms. The AAP has fielded Vikram Sorani from the seat this time.
Besides reiterating his promises of free electricity up to 300 units, schools and hospitals, and jobs amid vociferous cheering from the crowd, Kejriwal also implored the public to reject the “double-engine” government whose engine has “rusted”. Instead, he urged them to bring a “new engine” in an apparent reference to AAP.
Addressing several hundreds who were participating in the roadshow, along with several others perched atop rooftops and balconies of houses in the Jakat Naka area of Wankaner, Kejriwal said, “First of all we will give you freedom from mehangai (inflation)… In December, we will form a government and from March 1, you won’t be required to pay your electricity bills. Your brother will pay your electricity bills, I will pay your electricity bills…We will make schools for your children… Gujarat mein bhi shaandaar school banwaunga, aapke bachchon ka achchha bhavishya banaunga. (In Gujarat too, we will make amazing schools and make the future of your children).”
He appealed to the people to give the AAP just five years. “You’ve given the BJP 27 years. I’m here only asking for five years. Give us five years and if you don’t like our work, I won’t come asking for your vote the next time… I’ll never make false promises to you. I’ll never promise you that I’ll give you Rs 15 lakh, I can’t give you. I won’t lie. I’m an honest person,” he said.
The roadshow in Wankaner was followed by another one in the Chotila Assembly constituency in Surendranagar. “We have come to the darbar of Goddess Chamunda. I have full trust that we will get Goddess Chamunda’s blessings. I got to know about a farmers’ issue. There is a severe issue of water for every farmer and in every village here. If our government is formed, we will arrange water in every village,” said Kejriwal.
Standing through the sunroof of his car, with Raju Karpada–the AAP candidate from Chotila–seated on the roof of the car, Kejriwal said, “Click on the button of jhadu (broom–the party’s symbol) and Raju… Press the button so much that it gets damaged!” Chotila, held by MLA Rutvik Makwana, is also a Congress seat.
Later in the evening, the Delhi CM held a roadshow in Rajkot East where BJP’s Arvind Raiyani is the sitting MLA. However, in the 2012 Assembly elections, former AAP national joint secretary Indranil Rajyaguru won the seat. Earlier this week, he had returned to the Congress. The AAP is yet to announce its candidate for the seat.
“I do not have money to contest elections, main fakkad aadmi hu bilkul (I am a stupid man). That is why I am roaming the streets… I do not have money. I want your help,” said the AAP national convener at the roadshow in Rajkot East.
There are a total of three assembly constituencies in Rajkot city–Rajkot East, Rajkot West and Rajkot South–all held by the BJP. Former chief minister Vijay Rupani is the sitting MLA of Rajkot West.
With Inputs from ENS, Ahmedabad