Women travelers in Delhi are very happy with the free bus ride scheme, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said today as he hopped on to public buses to take a "direct feedback" on the state government's scheme that was rolled out on Tuesday.
"I boarded a few buses just now to get direct feedback from women. In addition to students, working women, women going for shopping, I also met a few who have to visit doc regularly. They are also v happy (sic)," Mr Kejriwal tweeted this afternoon.
"Today all our sisters in Delhi have become VIPs. Till now, only MP and MLAs used to get free rides. Now commuting for women is also free," he said in another tweet in Hindi.
Correct. I boarded a few buses just now to get direct feedback from women. In addition to students, working women, women going for shopping, I also met a few who have to visit doc regularly. They are also v happy https://t.co/mZ54uTFAik— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) October 30, 2019
Mr Kejriwal also interacted with passengers during his bus rides.
On opposition's claim that the free travel scheme is an "election stunt", Mr Kejriwal told NDTV: "This scheme is benefiting women and a lot of women travellers have given positive feedback. What is the point of opposing it? They should support it."
"If I have made electricity and commuting cheaper in Delhi, these people (opposition leaders) have to understand where's the money is coming from. This is because we are saving the money that was earlier wasted in corrupt practices. We are using this money for boosting public infrastructure," he said and added that "people are happy".
On Tuesday, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari had called the free bus ride scheme for women in Delhi an "election stunt". "This decision of Kejriwal is an election stunt. He has done nothing in the past so many months for women in the city. Kejriwal has taken this decision as the elections are just three months away," he told news agency ANI.
Assembly elections are due next year in the national capital. Today, the Aam Aadmi Party chief said his focus, ahead of the polls, is to make people happy. Answering a question on how many seats his party aims to win, the 51-year-old leader told NDTV: "My aim is to work for the people. If the people are happy, we will win get enough seats too."
Mr Kejriwal had announced free bus travel scheme for Delhi women in his Independence Day speech this year.
The Delhi cabinet had on August 29 given in-principle approval to the scheme with a rider on female employees of the stare government that they have to give up their transport allowance to avail the facility.
On Monday, he said that the number of marshals in public buses, who have been deployed to ensure the safety of women on board, have been increased to nearly 13,000 from 3,400. "The presence of bus marshals is creating a sense of safety amongst women and fear amongst eve-teasers," he tweeted today.