If Modi be­comes the prime min­is­ter, do you think he is go­ing to run this coun­try?

India Today - - WINNING - ARVIND KE­JRI­WAL

Hav­ing just flown in from Gu­jarat for the In­dia To­day Con­clave, for­mer Delhi chief min­is­ter Arvind Ke­jri­wal used the oc­ca­sion to launch a full-frontal at­tack on BJP’s prime min­is­te­rial can­di­date Naren­dra Modi and the widely touted Gu­jarat de­vel­op­ment model. The move was clearly planned as the next step in the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) po­lit­i­cal strat­egy and Ke­jri­wal clearly in­di­cated that he felt that the Congress was an en­emy al­ready van­quished. “Ev­ery­body is un­happy with the UPA. The UPA is go­ing to van­ish but what is the al­ter­na­tive?” he asked the au­di­ence.

Over the last year, Ke­jri­wal ex­plained, he had heard the me­dia laud Modi as the most ca­pa­ble ad­min­is­tra­tor in the world. “It has been said that in Gu­jarat, there is Ram Ra­jya. We are be­ing told there is no cor­rup­tion there. It has been said there is a high level of ed­u­ca­tion and that health­care ser­vices have im­proved,” he told the au­di­ence. Over the next 30 min­utes, Ke­jri­wal sys­tem­at­i­cally ex­plained how the Gu­jarat he en­coun­tered had nu­mer­ous in­stances of poverty, cor­rup­tion and ne­glect of pub­lic ser­vices. But while it was a bold and in­no­va­tive at­tack on Modi, at the end of the ses­sion it was clear that Ke­jri­wal was not pre­sent­ing him­self as the an­swer. He spoke of a lead­er­ship cri­sis in the coun­try. When asked point blank by a mem­ber of the au­di­ence whom she should choose, con­sid­er­ing Ke­jri­wal was bent on telling people why they should not vote for oth­ers, he said he did not have an an­swer. Here are some ex­cerpts from the ses­sion: COR­RUP­TION IN GU­JARAT

“People in Gu­jarat told me that to get any work done in govern­ment of­fices, you have to pay bribe. For in­stance, if you want to get a peon’s job in the state, you have to pay Rs 10 lakh as bribe. If you want to be­come an as­sis­tant reg­is­trar, you have to pay Rs 33 lakh as bribe. Even if a po­lice of­fi­cer wants to get a trans­fer, he has to give at least Rs 2.75 lakh.” CRUM­BLING IN­FRA­STRUC­TURE We have heard so many times that the Gu­jarat govern­ment pro­vides 24-hour elec­tric­ity to its people. I

I ASKED PEOPLE IF THE­YARE SO AN­GRY WITH MODI, THEN WHY DO THEY VOTE FOR HIM?

THEY SAID THERE’S NO

CRED­I­BLE OP­PO­SI­TION. THE CONGRESS IS BAD, NO­BODY

THEM.’’ WANTS

met farm­ers. They said that their ap­pli­ca­tions for power con­nec­tions, for more than 400,000 of them have been ly­ing unat­tended for years. They do not get any elec­tric­ity. How can they op­er­ate their ir­ri­ga­tion equip­ment?”

“At one place, I stopped my car and called the people who were show­ing me black flags. They said I was do­ing neg­a­tive pro­pa­ganda against Modi. They said, ‘We have beau­ti­ful roads and high­ways’. I said, ‘Let’s go to the vil­lages and see’. But there were no roads. I have clicked many pho­to­graphs. In Modi’s own con­stituency, there are no proper roads. This is where he be­longs, from where he has won elec­tions for the last 15 years. I went to a school there. There was filth all around it.” ED­U­CA­TION IN SHAM­BLES

“There is a vil­lage called Wao Taluka. I vis­ited a col­lege there. The col­lege had 618 stu­dents but only two teach­ers. You can­not run a col­lege like this. It needs many teach­ers. Can you guess the salary of each teacher? Rs 5,300 per month. This is even less than the min­i­mum wage. How can you run a fam­ily of five with a salary of Rs 5,300 a month?” POOR HEALTH­CARE

“In Badi Pi­pli, vil­lagers took me to the pri­mary health cen­tre. It was a di­lap­i­dated build­ing with­out a roof. Its walls had col­lapsed and it was be­ing used as a garbage dump by the vil­lagers. I took pho­tos of the build­ing. They said that it was built in 2003.

But it has not been made func­tional till now.” DY­ING IN­DUS­TRY

“What is the con­di­tion of small-scale in­dus­try in Gu­jarat? A large num­ber of small-scale in­dus­tries have closed down in the last 10 years. I vis­ited Mehsana as well as met an in­dus­tri­al­ist there. He said 147 of the 187 fac­to­ries in that area have closed down. This is the Gu­jarat model of de­vel­op­ment: Shut small-scale and medium-scale in­dus­try and give ben­e­fits to only a few large-scale in­dus­tri­al­ists like Ada­nis, Am­ba­nis.” QUES­TIONS FROM THE AU­DI­ENCE Au­di­ence You started off by telling us the many rea­sons why we should not vote for Modi. You were asked whether you’d like to rule the coun­try. You said no. So ob­vi­ously there is ma­jor con­fu­sion. You don’t want us to vote for him. You don’t want to be in power. How are these prob­lems go­ing to be solved? Ke­jri­wal I don’t have easy an­swers to that. Au­di­ence But there has to be some so­lu­tion. Ke­jri­wal There is a lead­er­ship cri­sis in this coun­try. The choices that we have are not right. I pre­sented all the facts that came in front of me while tour­ing Gu­jarat. It is up to you. The coun­try is go­ing through a se­vere cri­sis. We will have to un­der­stand that. If we still feel that this per­son or that per­son is good, then you might go and vote for them. Au­di­ence It sounds eas­ier said than done. Ke­jri­wal I don’t have any an­swer. Au­di­ence Who do we vote for then? At least in Naren­dra Modi, we have a choice, who is telling us what good he is do­ing. You are telling us what he is not do­ing, but you are not telling us that you are will­ing to stand there and fight for ev­ery­thing. You just tell us don’t vote for him. What do we do now? Ke­jri­wal AAP is a choice. Whether I will be­come PM or not is not im­por­tant. Au­di­ence You said that a mir­a­cle hap­pened on De­cem­ber 8 and then you re­signed af­ter 49 days. Now that AAP is con­test­ing the Lok Sabha elec­tions, can you as­sure the people of the coun­try that you won’t leave the govern­ment at the next big hur­dle that you face? Ke­jri­wal Why won’t we leave? Lal Ba­hadur Shas­tri was rail­way min­is­ter. He re­signed be­cause of a train ac­ci­dent. Stick­ing to the chair is not good. That’s not what our cul­ture teaches us. Neeraj Ku­mar (for­mer Delhi po­lice com­mis­sioner) You said only one rape

MODI DOESN’T AN­SWER THE ME­DIA OR HOLD PRESS CON­FER­ENCES. THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUN­TRY WANTTO ASK HIM SOME QUES­TIONS. THERE ARE SO MANY DOUBTS

MIND.’’ IN OUR BJP LEAD­ERS BOUGHT LAND AT RS 50,000 PER ACRE IN CHA­RANKA BE­CAUSE THEY KNEWA SO­LAR PARK WOULD BE BUILT. THE GOVERN­MENT BOUGHT IT FROM THEM FOR RS 27 LAKH

ACRE.’’ PER

case, the De­cem­ber 16, 2012 case, was solved. This is com­pletely wrong: 87 per cent rape cases are solved in Delhi, ev­ery year. And if you want to mis­guide this gath­er­ing... Ke­jri­wal No sir. I was mis­in­ter­preted. I was point­ing to­wards the ju­di­cial sys­tem. You file the chargesheet. A case goes on in court for years. Au­di­ence If you be­come the PM, what kind of re­la­tion­ship with Pak­istan and China will you have? FDI in re­tail which was a lib­eral eco­nomic pol­icy. Why did you de­cide to scrap it? Ke­jri­wal We should have peace­ful and cor­dial re­la­tions with all the coun­tries. But we should be at one level. We should not let other coun­tries dom­i­nate us. As far as FDI in re­tail is con­cerned, we were told that if FDI in re­tail is im­ple­mented, em­ploy­ment will in­crease, farm­ers will get re­mu­ner­a­tive prices, con­sumers will get bet­ter prices, cold stor­age chains would come. But we have stud­ied FDI in many coun­tries and we have seen that un­em­ploy­ment in­creases with FDI in re­tail. There­fore, we took the de­ci­sion to scrap it in Delhi.

RO­HIT CHAWLA

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