The party will contest the polls on the plank of the Centre’s good governance.
While the announcement of free rides to women in Delhi Metro and DTC buses is being seen as a desperate attempt of the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi to win back voters in the Assembly elections slated for January-February next year, the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is eyeing to end its 21-year exile in Delhi, is in no mood to offer any freebies to voters. The party has decided to contest the polls on the plank of good governance of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, and will also expose the “false promises” of the Arvind Kejriwal government.
Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari said: “The BJP, on principle, is opposed to giving freebies to voters for electoral gains. Instead, we will promise affordable services and adequate infrastructure to meet the growing needs of the national capital. Freebies will only financially weaken the public transport system and other agencies like Jal Board and the power sector.”
The move is similar to the BJP’s decision against farm loan waiver in the recent general elections and before that in the Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. In these elections, the Congress managed to lure voters with announcement of farm loan waiver, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah categorically maintained that loan waiver was no solution to the agrarian crisis. The BJP, however, lost all three states to the Congress.
Tiwari told The Sunday Guardian that the BJP only supported free health services and education to people, but that would be decided in the long run taking into account the financial health of the government. “Public transport system in Delhi is already crumbling due to financial crunch and lack of buses. Additional burden of Rs 700 crore, as announced by the Kejriwal government, will only add to the crisis. Instead of making Metro and bus rides free for women, the government must focus on providing adequate buses to people of Delhi,” Tiwari said.
The party has also demanded that the Delhi government bring a White Paper in Delhi Assembly on the public transport system in the city. In a letter to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Tiwari sought to know the financial implications on the Delhi government on maintenance of low floor buses, the exact number of buses available of roads, the status of Delhi Metro phase-4 and the utilisation of the pollution fees collected by the Delhi government since 2015.
Meanwhile, the BJP has begun preparations for the Assembly polls slated for January-February next year. The party is elated with the results of the Lok Sabha polls where it registered resounding victory in all the seven seats in Delhi. A break-up of the poll results shows that the BJP has trounced the AAP in 65 of the 70 Assembly segments, while Congress stood second in five seats. AAP, which won a staggering 55% votes and 67 seats in the 2015 Assembly polls, has been pushed down to third spot in all 70 seats.
However, in 2015, the BJP was riding a similar wave after the landslide victory in the 2014 general elections. However, in an unprecedented situation, the BJP miserably lost to AAP in the capital.