AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said if voted to power in Punjab in next year’s Assembly polls, his party will put an end to the “Inspector Raj”, create a congenial atmosphere for industries to flourish and make traders a partner in the state’s growth .
He also promised to clear the pending VAT refunds of traders and businessmen in three-four months and provide round-the-clock electricity to the industries in the state if the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is voted to power.
Addressing a gathering of traders and businessmen in Bathinda on the concluding day of his two-day Punjab visit, the Delhi Chief Minister said, “Our goal is to create a prosperous Punjab and lead it towards progress. We will provide a crime-free and corruption-free government.”
On the first day of his visit, Mr Kejriwal had met farmers in Mansa.
He had held a meeting with the industry representatives in Ludhiana last month.
AAP’s Punjab affairs in-charge Raghav Chadha, Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Harpal Cheema, state AAP president and MP Bhagwant Mann and MLA Aman Arora were present at the event in Bathinda.
Mr Kejriwal said the AAP works with a clear intent.
“We will give you an honest government in Punjab like in Delhi. We ended the Inspector Raj and the Raid Raj in Delhi,” he said.
Mr Kejriwal said Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi has also said he will make traders a partner in the state’s growth and end the “Inspector Raj”.
“Why doesn’t he do it now? Because they do not have the intent, their intention is bad,” he alleged.
“When we did so many things during our 49-day stint in Delhi (AAP’s first term in the national capital), why can’t Channi? This is why I say to copy the Aam Aadmi Party is easy, but the implementation is difficult , Mr Kejriwal said.
Responding to the concerns of some traders about the alleged “goonda tax”, he said after coming to power, the AAP will ensure that traders can run their businesses without any fear.
“After our government comes to power in Punjab, from April 1, 2022, it will be our responsibility to ensure the safety of every businessman,” he added.
Referring to his first term as the chief minister of Delhi, Mr Kejriwal said despite the tenure being short, his government sent out a clear message from the top that corruption will not be tolerated at any level.
“In that 49-day period, we put up hoardings across Delhi, telling people if anyone asks for a bribe, they should take out their mobile phones and send a voice recording of the person seeking bribe to my personal WhatsApp number. I sent 32 officials to jail and people used to ask those seeking bribe ”phone nikaloon”,” he said.
The AAP supremo said his party will do the same in Punjab as well to eliminate corruption.
On the issue of electricity, he said Punjab is a power-producing state and still there is a power deficiency.
“We will ensure 24-hour power supply,” he said, pointing towards the traders.
“I am told that the VAT refunds are pending, we will clear those in three-four months after coming to power,” the Delhi chief minister added.
He said small traders are the backbone of the country’s industry.
Mr Kejriwal said the other political parties think about the traders and businessmen “only at the time of polls because they need funds”.
“But we do not need money from you. I have come to make you a partner in Punjab’s progress. We will create a conducive atmosphere so that trade and industry flourishes,” he told the traders and businessmen.
During the difficult times of COVID-19, the AAP stood by the people and traders of Delhi, Mr Kejriwal said.
“Unfortunately, the Punjab government left the people and the traders to their own fate as the ruling party was busy in their fight for power,” he alleged.
Taking a dig at the Channi-led Punjab government, which recently hosted an investors’ summit, Mr Kejriwal said, “They invite big industrialists and say so much investment has come. But efforts are not made to save the existing industry, which is shifting out to other places.”
He said for Punjab’s development, farmers, labourers and traders are like its wheels.
Appealing to the voters to bring the AAP to power in Punjab, which goes to polls early next year, Mr Kejriwal said, “In the last 70 years, people gave so many chances to the Congress and even to the Shiromani Akali Sal and the BJP . We are seeking just one chance from you.”
He also said while the other political parties prepare their poll manifestos behind closed doors, the AAP goes to the public, seeks their feedback and incorporates what they want in its manifesto.