In Gujarat to present the Aam Aadmi Party as an alternative in the polls this year, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today recalled his IIT-JEE success and made a rank-by-rank comparison with a student in Delhi — stressing his claim that “education alone can make India the best in the world”.
“I was ranked 563 in IIT-JEE,” the Delhi Chief Minister said, “This morning in Delhi I met a security guard’s son from a government school who’s got Rank 569. His father gets a salary Rs 12,000 a month. When this boy passes out of IIT, he will have a starting salary of Rs 2 lakh a month. That will be the end of poverty for that family. If we do it for all our kids, each and every family in India will become rich… within a generation.”
He was speaking at an NDTV Townhall in Ahmedabad, where he’s been spending a lot of time campaigning to unseat the BJP in the assembly polls due in December.
Earlier today, he was in Delhi to meet government school students who’ve cracked the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for the premier Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). “It was an emotional moment for me as I am an IIT ex-student. This country has given me a lot,” he said, “And it has been my dream since, that just like me, all of India’s children, even the poorest of the poor, get the same facilities.”
He said 1,141 students from Delhi government schools have cracked the IIT-JEE and medical entrance test NEET this year.
Education and health — service delivery and welfare schemes, in essence — remain the AAP’s main pitch in its ‘Make India Number 1’ drive, which came about after the AAP won Punjab earlier this year and revived its wider ambitions. The BJP, Congress and other parties opposed to the AAP have said Delhi’s “free education and health model” is based on “propaganda”.
On allegations of corruption, such as an alleged scam in the Delhi liquor policy, Mr Kejriwal said, “That’s just the BJP saying things… doesn’t mean much.”
He said the case is just to target his deputy in Delhi, Manish Sisodia, over his success as Education Minister.
“Why don’t they arrest him? He has challenged the BJP. Or the Prime Minister should apologise to him. In this so-called corruption case, nothing has been found; nothing will be found,” he said.
The BJP yesterday showed a secretly-recorded video in which an accused in the FIR — in which Mr Sisodia is named too — claims the Delhi government kept smaller players out of its “tailormade” excise policy to help a few persons.
Mr Sisodia reacted with sarcasm: “BJP should give this so-called sting to the CBI, which anyway is working like an external agency of the party. In the next four days — till Monday — the CBI should arrest me if there’s any proof.”