'Wi-Fi in colleges aims to nurture young AAP voters'

The Arvind Kejriwal government’s decision to launch its ambitious free Wi-Fi scheme from all government and private colleges is aimed at tapping first time voters ahead of the 2017 elections, AAP sources and leaders of its rival parties said on Friday.

A day after Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia set aside Rs 50 crore for Wi-Fi facility in his Budget proposal for 2015-16, party sources said teenaged college students form a big chunk of users free Wi-Fi for social networking.

“By the time most college students become eligible for voting, they would have used the free Wi-Fi provided by the Kejriwal government,” said another AAP leader
“They may tend give the AAP the credit for the free Wi-Fi facility by voting for it in elections,” he added.

“Apart from free Wi-Fi in colleges, the government is also considering a proposal to have public transport buses equipped with such a facility,” he said.

The rival parties are also taking time to digest the fact that the Kerjiwal government has selected colleges and villages for launching the Wi-Fi hotspot schemes.

“The intention seems very clear, the AAP would use the free Wi-Fi to bombard users of this facility with political ads or government’s promotional material ahead of elections,” said a BJP legislator.

The first-time voters and villagers are an influential vote bank to swing poll outcomes in Delhi.  “Kejriwal has also admitted that some proposals in the Budget are aimed at ensuring AAP success in the coming elections, including the 2017 civic elections,” said a former Congress legislator. 

Delhi AAP Convenor Dilip Pandey slammed the rival parties’ bid to interpret the government’s Budget proposals in terms of electoral calculations. “They are doing this because they have nothing else to criticise,” he said.

“The decision on where to start the Wi-Fi host spots is the prerogative of the government. The government is well within its right to pick colleges and villages for it,” he said.
While announcing the Budget proposal to provide free Wi-Fi in colleges, Sisodia said the government has held substantial rounds of discussions and consultations with experts and many models have been thoroughly analysed.

We promised free Wi-Fi in our manifesto and we are moving in that direction, he said. Wi-Fi is one of the major promises made by the AAP ahead of the Delhi polls.

In fact, during the first Delhi Dialouge, the initiative launched by the party to connect with the masses ahead of polls, was for the youth where Arvind Kejriwal promised to give free Wi-Fi in the capital.

The initiative also helped attract the party votes from students and youth and the latest move to tap colleges seems to be an effort to consolidate the AAP’s appeal among young voters.

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