Continuing his series of poll promises that he calls a “guarantee”, Aam Aadmi Party national convenor Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday promised a monthly allowance of Rs 1,000 to all women above 18 years in Gujarat, while the entry-level salary of police personnel would be increased to match the best in the country if their party is voted to power.
The allowance for women was Kejriwal’s fifth guarantee to the people ahead of the Gujarat assembly elections this year-end. He said the allowance would be given to those who wish to take it.
“This Rs 1,000 is not revdi (freebie). This is your right. People's money should go to people, not to the Swiss bank,” he said, making the announcement at a gathering of hundreds of women in Ahmedabad.
Kejriwal was taking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi -- without naming him – who had recently cautioned against "revdi culture" or the culture of freebies in politics.
The Delhi Chief Minister’s earlier poll guarantees to Gujarat included free electricity up to 300 units and an allowance of Rs 3,000 per month to the unemployed youth.
The Delhi Chief Minister said the Rs 1,000 allowance would help girls pay their college fees or bear the transportation costs. He pointed out, “Many bright girls had to leave their studies because their poor parents could not afford bus fare or college fees. This allowance will help such girls continue their studies. The allowance will also help housewives meet their expenditures as the cost of living has increased with the sky-rocketing prices of essential commodities.”
Kejriwal said, “The Indian economy would improve and grow if money is put into the hands of the common people, but the economy would shrink if a major chunk of the money is distributed among the handful of rich persons.”
The AAP chief said, “Many people ask me where would the money come from to distribute these allowances and free electricity to the people. The AAP formed a government in Punjab in March and in the first three months of April, May and June, the Punjab government's revenue was Rs 21,000 crore, which is Rs 6,000 crore more than what it was in the corresponding period last year. This extra revenue was enough to cover our free electricity cost of Rs 3,000 crore.”
"There is no scarcity of money but there is a scarcity of good intentions," he said and asserted that the BJP government spends the people’s tax revenues by waiving loans and taxes of the rich. "We will stop this and run the government with honesty," he said.
Citing a letter he had received from the wife of a policeman in Gujarat, the Delhi Chief Minister said the Rs 20,000 entry-level salary of police personnel in Gujarat was the lowest in the country. “The policemen can’t speak out openly but this letter to me, to our party shows their conditions.”
Exhorting the policemen to quietly help the party win in Gujarat without being noticed, the AAP chief assured them to implement "the best pay scale" for them, being paid in any state in the country.