Arvind Kejriwal After Probe Ordered Into Delhi Free Power Scheme: "Trust Me, Gujarat..."

Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena orders inquiry into "irregularities and discrepancies" in the power subsidy given by Arvind Kejriwal's government

Arvind Kejriwal pitches Delhi power subsidy scheme as AAP's selling point in other states too.

New Delhi:

Another front opened today in the ongoing war between the BJP-ruled Centre and Delhi's AAP government — this time over the free electricity scheme, one of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's calling cards. 

Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena directed the Chief Secretary to probe "irregularities and discrepancies" in the power subsidy given by the AAP government, and give a report in seven days. This comes about three months after he ordered a CBI probe into the liquor policy — a case in which Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia is an accused.

Mr Kejriwal saw the latest probe order as a BJP move against AAP's expansion. "Gujarat is liking the free electricity guarantee by AAP," he tweeted, alleging, "That's why BJP wants to stop free electricity in Delhi."

"People of Delhi, trust me. I will not let your free electricity be stopped under any circumstances. People of Gujarat, trust me, if our government is formed, your electricity will also be free from March 1," he added.

Gujarat, PM Narendra Modi's home state where the BJP has been in power for over two decades, has elections later this year. The AAP is targeting it as its third base after Delhi and Punjab.

In July, the Lieutenant Governor ordered a CBI inquiry into the later-withdrawn New Excise Policy that had brought private players into the liquor trade in the national capital.

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The alleged scam in power subsidy is linked to payments by the state government to companies that supply electricity in the national capital.

Delhi has 58 lakh domestic power consumers, of whom 47 lakh avail the subsidy — including 30 lakh who get zero bills as consumption of less than 200 units is free. About 17 lakh get a 50-per cent subsidy, which is for consumption of up to 400 units. The government pays the companies for this.

The AAP dismisses it all as the BJP's "tactics".

It has accused Mr Saxena of a scam in the Khadi and Village Industries Corporation, which he headed before being appointed Lieutenant Governor of Delhi by the union government earlier this year.

The AAP government recently made a key change in the power subsidy scheme — now only those who opt for the subsidy will receive it. It came into effect last Saturday, and more tha 25 lakh consumers have applied so far.

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