Free electricity in Punjab if AAP wins polls: Kejriwal

Arvind Kejriwal promises free electricity in Punjab if AAP wins Assembly polls

AAP's heightened activities in Punjab comes against the backdrop of its ambition to overthrow the Amarinder Singh-led Congress government

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. Credit: PTI file photo

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is heading to Punjab, which will go to polls early next year, for the second time in a week on Tuesday with a promise to provide free electricity if voted to power in the state where AAP is presently the main Opposition party.

AAP's heightened activities in Punjab comes against the backdrop of its ambition to overthrow the Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in the state, which is facing trouble from within after cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu rose in rebellion, and assume power.

It also hopes that the BJP and the newly-minted Akali Dal-BSP coalition would add trouble to its strategy in cornering the Congress. AAP was considered a favourite before the 2017 polls in Punjab but had to satisfy with a distant second though it managed to push the dominant Akali Dal to third position.

The visit to Chandigarh on Tuesday will be Kejriwal's second after his June 21 tour to Amritsar when he declared that AAP would declare a Sikh as its Chief Ministerial candidate.

The AAP appears to have learnt from the mistake of 2017 when it gave an impression that Kejriwal may move to Punjab, depriving a Sikh from assuming the chair. Party leaders and analysts had then said that unequivocal declaration of a Sikh Chief Ministerial candidate could have turned the tables for the party.

It is also in this context that Kejriwal announced on Monday that an AAP government in Punjab would provide free electricity, an electoral promise that successfully propelled its electoral chances in the national capital.

"It is very difficult for a woman to run her own house at such an expensive price. In Delhi, we provide 200 units of free electricity to every family. The women are very happy. Women in Punjab are also very unhappy with inflation. The AAP government will also provide free electricity in Punjab. See you tomorrow in Chandigarh," Kejriwal tweeted.

Upping the ante before his visit, AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha said that the Punjab Chief Minister's office has denied permission to hold a press conference at a pre-decided venue.

"Captain Amarinder's fear of Kejriwal has reached a point where his office has denied us permission to hold a press conference at the pre-decided venue. Nevertheless, Arvind Kejriwal will make a mega announcement tomorrow in Chandigarh which will send 440 volt current to Captain and his party," Chadha tweeted.

Kejriwal's visit to Punjab also comes as AAP is attempting to increase its footprint in Gujarat after an impressive performance in Surat municipal polls. Leaders like Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia visited the state and have inducted prominent leaders, including businessmen to the party.

The AAP also is looking at the Uttar Pradesh elections next year with its in-charge and Rajya Sabha floor leader Sanjay Singh recently raking up "questionable" land deals involving the Ram Temple Trust. Earlier, Singh was slapped with a case of sedition after he questioned the Covid-19 handling by the Yogi Adityanath government.

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