‘Will Fight for Statehood’: AAP Releases Manifesto for Elections
The Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday, 25 April, released their manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. National convenor Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia were present at the unveiling, along with other senior party leaders.
The main theme of the manifesto is winning statehood for Delhi.
Speaking at the release of the manifesto, party chief Kejriwal said that the 2019 Lok Sabha polls is not just about one party's manifesto and the issues it raised, but about the future of the country.
“The 2019 elections is a turning point of sorts for India. This election is to save India, India’s people and the rich culture of India. The election is to save the democracy and constitution of our nation,” Kejriwal said.
“Amit Shah had said that all infiltrators except Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs will be thrown out. Will Muslims, Jains and Christians be mob-lynched or thrown in the ocean? The BJP is fulfilling Pakistan’s agenda because even Pakistan wants to divide our country," he said.
The first agenda of the party, Kejriwal stressed, was to break the Amit Shah- Narendra Modi duo and to prevent them from forming the government again, adding that AAP would support any "secular mahagathbandhan" after the general election.
Make Delhi Police Accountable
The AAP manifesto also raises different issues – such as employment, higher education and women’s safety – that Delhi faces due to not having full statehood, according to Kejriwal. The latter also pointed out that the demand was a 70-year-old one.
“We will get statehood, come whatever may. We will do whatever we need to,” he stated. If AAP wins all seven seats and has seven MPs in Delhi, Kejriwal said that they would ensure Delhi becomes a complete state.
Kejriwal also spoke about the state of the Delhi police, saying that they were overworked and could not, therefore, be expected to work efficiently to guarantee the safety of the people of the city.
Promising to improve and transform the Delhi police, he added, “If Delhi gets full statehood, AAP will fill two-third of the vacant posts in Delhi Police.”
He also said that he would make the Delhi Police accountable and answerable to the people.
Education & Employment
Speaking about the state of education in the city, Kejriwal pointed out that students of Delhi were not being able to get seats in colleges and universities despite scoring 95 percentage and above. This, he claimed, was because students from other cities were occupying all the available seats.
Expressing his empathy with the situation, Kejriwal said that he would ensure 85 percent reservation for students native to Delhi, in colleges, if given full statehood.
He also pointed out that once Delhi became a full state, the Delhi government would not need permission to get land for colleges and universities.
“We will build so many colleges and universities that even those with 60 percent will get seats,” he said.
Kejriwal declared that a similar situation prevailed when it came to jobs, saying that many Delhi residents were unemployed because vacancies in the Delhi government were being scooped up by people from outside.
He promised 85 percent reservation in this aspect as well.
On Corruption, Cleanliness and Lokpal
Among other issues raised, Kejriwal spoke about bringing back the Anti Corruption Branch (ACB), pointing out that Delhi’s corruption had widely been far lesser when the body was functioning under them. Kejriwal alleged that Modi had taken away the ACB, making room for corruption to make a comeback in Delhi.
However, he pointed out that the Delhi government had already reduced corruption, especially at the top.
He also promised that with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) under his control, the Delhi government would make Delhi as clean and beautiful as some other cities, which was not possible at the moment.
Speaking about the need for more affordable housing, Kejriwal pointed out that buying a house was not possible for many natives of Delhi, adding that he would provide houses to all middle class people within 10 years of coming to power.
AAP deputy chief, Manish Sisodia added to this list of problems, saying that with full statehood, the government would ensure the formation of Lokpal.
Pointing out that they had approved the bill and sent it to the central government a long time ago, Sisodia said, “Had Delhi been a full state, we would have implemented it by now.”
Addressing the media, AAP leader Gopal Rai had said each of the party’s seven candidates in Delhi will also have a separate constituency-based manifesto, IANS reported.
"The constituency manifesto will be launched on 1 May," he said.
Each of the seven candidates will highlight the area-specific matters in the manifesto.
He also said that the party will launch its campaign for the third phase of Lok Sabha polls in the national capital after Thursday.
Seven candidates fielded by the AAP are Chandni Chowk candidate Pankaj Gupta, East Delhi candidate Atishi, North West Delhi candidate Gugan Singh, South Delhi candidate Raghav Chadha, North East Delhi candidate Dilip Pandey, West Delhi candidate Balbir Singh Jakhar and New Delhi candidate Brajesh Goel.
Delhi goes to poll on 12 May and the results will be announced on 23 May.
(With inputs from IANS)