Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today made a statement that is sure to make a big dent in the electoral prospects of the AAP in the capital city-state that is increasingly dominated by migrant populations. The chief minister, while trying to tell people in an election meeting how well the health services of Delhi have become due to his governance, said on Sunday that now people from different states of the country are reaching Delhi only for free treatments.
Arvind Kejriwal, speaking at a state government function in the Mangolpuri Assembly constituency, distinctively mentioned Bihar while counting the number of immigrants who have benefited from his administration’s health schemes. He said that the OPDs in Delhi government hospitals have doubled in the last four years.
Addressing the people, Arvind Kejriwal said, “A man from Bihar comes to Delhi, sitting in a train with a ticket of Rs 500, and gets treatment worth Rs 5 lakh for free.”
Of course, Kejriwal added that it gave him happiness that these were people of the country and that everyone should be treated well.
Then he damaged his patchwork again: “But Delhi has a capacity. How do we treat the people of the whole country?”
The chief minister said that there was a need that health facilities should improve in the whole country. Talking to a television channel after the speech that made many frown, Kejriwal said, “People from different states are coming to Delhi for treatment. The OPDs in Delhi government hospitals have increased from 3 crore to 6 crore annually in the last four years. People across the country have faith in Delhi’s hospitals.”
Kejriwal: 80% in a hospital bordering Delhi turned out to be ‘outsiders’
Arvind Kejriwal, referring to a survey conducted by his government, said, “Today, it is difficult for the middle class to get treatment in private hospitals, but our government made medicines free in government-run hospitals and I believe there is a long queue (before each of these state-run hospitals).”
“The reason for this is that,” the chief minister continued, “many people are coming to Delhi from outside. We had a survey conducted in which 80% of the patients were outside in a Delhi government hospital along the border. At the moment, there are so many hospitals in Delhi, but they are enough to treat only Delhiites.”
The next Delhi election is expected in 2020. While the AAP enjoys a brute majority in the 70-member Assembly, with just three MLAs from the BJP and none from the Congress in the House, the ruling party not only lost a part of its tally of 67 from the 2015 poll to charges of corruption but also seemed to have lost its charisma in the 2017 MCD election where the BJP retained its stronghold.
The BJP leadership is believed to have made Manoj Tiwari the president of its Delhi unit to humour a large section of the current demography of the capital city that hails originally from Purvanchal and Bihar. Today’s statement from Kejriwal, projecting Biharis as a liability, may mar the prospects of AAP if the opposition is able to cash in on the remark.