Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Saturday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “revdi culture” jibe aimed at freebie politics.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Bundelkhand Expressway in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, the PM said, “People of this country, especially the youth, need to be very careful. Those who believe in revdi culture will never build new expressways, airports, or defence corridors for you. These revdi culture people think they can buy the public by giving them free revdi. We have to collectively defeat this thinking of theirs and remove revdi culture from the politics of the country.”
Kejriwal said giving free and quality services to the public was not free revdi. In fact, he said, free revdi included giving undue benefits to certain corporates and ministers.
“There are allegations being made against me that Kejriwal is disturbing free revdis, he’s distributing freebies. I’m being abused and made fun of. I want to ask the people of the country, what am I doing wrong? I’m giving free and quality education to the children of poor and middle-class households in Delhi. I want to ask people, am I disturbing free revdis or setting the foundation of the country?” he said.
“There are 18 lakh students currently studying in Delhi government schools. Their future was in the dark before this… Today, if we have given them a bright future, if I’m providing free and quality education to them, what crime am I committing? It is for the first time in the last 75 years that there has been 99% pass percentage in Delhi government schools,” said Kejriwal.
He said this work should have been done in 1947 or 1950. “This is not called free revdi. We are laying stones for the foundation of this country. We have made the condition of Delhi government hospitals magnificent and opened mohalla clinics that are talked about across the country… Is this called giving free revdis?” he said.
“If anybody has an accident in Delhi, under the farishtay scheme, if somebody takes them to hospital, their treatment is done free of cost… We have saved the lives of over 13 lakh people. Ask them if Kejriwal is giving free revdis or doing noble work,” said Kejriwal.
He also talked about AAP’s free electricity scheme and its critics: “People say why does Kejriwal give free electricity? I want to ask them – how much free electricity do your ministers get? When you and your ministers get 4,000-5,000 units of electricity free, then it’s fine. But if I give the poor 200-300 units of free electricity, you have a lot of problem.”
Kejriwal also mentioned the free pilgrimage scheme, free yoga classes and free bus travel for women by the Delhi government and said none of these could be equated with “free revdis”.
“Those who are abusing me have spent thousands of crores to buy private airplanes for themselves. Kejriwal doesn’t buy airplanes. He saves that money and makes bus travel free for mothers and sisters. What wrong is Kejriwal doing?” he said.
“Despite making so many things free, the Delhi budget is running in profit today. I’m not saying this, just a few days back the CAG report has come. They have said that since 2015, since the
Kejriwal government has come, Delhi’s budget has been running in profit; before that it was running at a loss,” said Kejriwal.
Without naming any company, Kejriwal hit out at the Centre for favouring certain “friends”. “I will tell you what free revdi is, and who is distributing free revdi in this country. There is a big company that took loans from various banks. Kha gaye wo loan. Bank diwaliya ho gaye (They swallowed the loans and the banks went bankrupt). That company gave one political party donation of a few crores and no action was taken by the government against this company. This is free revdi,” he said.
“When you waive loans of thousands of crores by your friends, that is free revdi. When you go for foreign travels and use that travel as an excuse to fix contracts with foreign governments for a few friends of yours, that is free revdi,” said Kejriwal.
He said there were two kinds of politics being practiced in the country – politics of integrity and politics of corruption. He said the AAP was doing the former by saving money and using that to serve the public, whereas the latter included fixing contracts of thousands of crores to make profit.
“They give all the conveniences to their ministers but if the people ask for it, they say these are freebies and free revdi is being distributed… Today, the people and country need to decide if they want politics of integrity or corruption,” said Kejriwal.