Repeating its poll promise of free power in Punjab, the Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday promised 300 units of free electricity to all domestic consumers in Uttar Pradesh ahead of elections next year. The party, which recently began its campaigning in UP starting with a visit to Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya and a tricolour rally, the Arvind Kejriwal-led party also promised to waive "inflated" bills and ensure 24-hour power supply if voted to power. The move is aimed at replicating its Delhi model.
With an eye on vote banks, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also announced providing free electricity to farmers. The announcements came while the AAP leader was addressing a press conference in Lucknow just months ahead of the assembly elections.
The AAP has made similar promises in Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa where assembly polls are due early next year.
In the last Delhi assembly elections, the AAP had promised free electricity up to 200 units to domestic consumers and after that up to 200 units at half the price, which is believed to have played an important role in the elections.
The Arvind Kejriwal-led party, which has decided to contest all 403 assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh, alleged that the electricity tariff is so expensive in Uttar Pradesh that it is becoming very difficult for people to pay the bills.
At the same time, Sisodia alleged that the government tells people "to either pay the electricity bill or be tagged as criminals".
Claiming that there are hundreds of instances in Uttar Pradesh where common people have committed suicide after receiving inflated electricity bills, Sisodia claimed that a farmer in Aligarh, named Ramji Lal, killed himself over non-payment of electricity bill.
He also claimed that in Etah, a 17-year-old girl committed suicide just because the electricity department had sent a wrong bill to her father who was declared a criminal for not paying it.
"There are 38 lakh families in Uttar Pradesh who have been sent inflated electricity bills and the government is considering them as criminals. I want to tell these people that you support the Aam Aadmi Party and ensure that our party forms the government after the assembly elections.
"Tear the bills as soon as the government is formed. Everyone's outstanding bill will be waived. This is Arvind Kejriwal's guarantee," Sisodia claimed.
He said electricity today is not a luxury but a basic necessity and it is the responsibility of every government to make it available to every citizen.
The party promised to provide 300 units of electricity free of cost to all domestic consumers per billing cycle, waive outstanding bills of 38 lakh families and ensure 24-hour power supply.
AAP Rajya Sabha member and in-charge of Uttar Pradesh Sanjay Singh told reporters that Kejriwal does what he says.
"Whatever announcements have been made today, including providing 300 units of free electricity, are historic, Singh said.
Asked about the party's chief ministerial candidate, Sisodia said when the time comes, the party will take a decision on it.
The party is contesting the elections under the leadership of Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal, he added.
(With inputs from PTI)