Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal promised fixed salaries for village heads besides direct funds for panchayats if his party is voted to power in the upcoming 2022 Gujarat elections.
The AAP national convenor is on a two-day campaign tour in the poll-bound state that is scheduled later this year.
Speaking at a conclave of sarpanchs (village heads) in Surendranagar on Saturday, Kejriwal said that if the AAP government comes to power, it will provide a salary of Rs 10,000 to sarpanch and Rs 10 lakh will be given to to village panchayat via direct transfer. He added that Village Computer Entrepreneurs (VCEs) who work on commission basis will also be eligible for Rs 20,000 salary.
“A sarpanch wins an election in his village and people like and respect him. He is the leader of his village. After winning the election, the sarpanch spends money from his pocket because he has no funds for the work people want him to do…When a sarpanch approaches an MLA or district official seeking funds, they ask for “commission”…We will end this commission (system). We will fix the salary of the sarpanch. Every sarpanch will get Rs 10,000 per month. I know it is a small amount. We will start with Rs 10,000 and increase it slowly,” Kejriwal said.
The AAP leader said that all the promises will be fulfilled before February 28, 2023.
Furthering the AAP government’s ‘mohalla clinic’ initiative, the AAP government will start school and mohalla clinics in each of the 18,000 village panchayats in Gujarat. He claimed that in Punjab, where the AAP came to power with a massive majority, 100 mohalla clinics were opened in the first 75 days, and all villages in Punjab would get it in the next two-three years.
Launching an attack on the BJP, the Delhi CM said that people are now turning up for AAP meetings, as people are “fed up” with BJP and their “hooliganism”.
Reiterating his other promises, Kejriwal said that people will get free and quality education and healthcare will be for all, including Rs 1,000 for women.
On the BJP’s criticism of him distributing “revadis” (referring to welfare schemes), Kejriwal alleged that the ruling BJP is spending all the money collected through increasing taxes to “buy and topple elected governments”.
“They bought MLAs in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Manipur, Assam, Bihar, and now the BJP is going to buy MLAs in Jharkhand. They (BJP) had come to Delhi to purchase our MLAs for Rs 20 crore each…They could not get a single MLA from Delhi. All MLAs are with us. We are honest people,” Kejriwal said.