BY ARUN AGRAWAL
The purpose of these serialized articles is to do an expose on Arvind Kejriwal who is misleading the innocent people of this country on the issue of corruption for promoting his selfish agenda. He has never been serious on the issue of eradicating corruption.
The Opening Quote of the manifesto of AAP which is a Letter of Pledge (Sankalp Patra).
“Na Khokle Dave, Na Jhote Wadey, Saach ki Rajneeti, Swaraj Ka Sankalp” (NO HOLLOW CLAIMS,NO FALSE PROMISE POLITICS OF THE TRUTH, PLEDGE OF SWARAJ)
Arvind Kejriwal, who has built his campaign on truth, integrity and an anti-corruption movement, is himself guilty of lying and bribing the electorate by making a false promise of giving a benefit of Rs 60,000 per household (in Delhi) for those paying electricity bill of Rs 2000 per month.
The first article of this series focuses on bribing the Delhi electorate with a false promise of enriching them by around Rs 60,000. It was the largest bribe that was ever offered to the electorate by any party, be it in cash or in kind. The bribe was not to be paid from corporate donations based on crony capitalism but from the public exchequer by increasing the debt of the future generations.
Kejriwal, deliberately made a false promise to reduce the electricity bill by half when he knew that it was impossible to fulfill the promise. This false promise was laced with his usual rhetoric on corruption and profiteering by the corporates. Hence people believed him and voted for him in large numbers to create the electorate upset of post independent India.
The false assurance on reducing the consumer’s (voters) expenditure on electricity by half was in the manifesto. The manifesto also stated the manner in which the reduction of electricity expenditure of the consumers would be brought about. It was never stated that it would be done through subsidy.
The promise made in the electoral manifesto (summary) taken from the website of AAP is reproduced: Delhi’s consumers have been getting inflated bills due to malpractices by Discoms. AAP promises a reduction of consumers’ electricity expenditure by 50%. This will be done by ordering
- audit of discoms
- rectifying inflated bills and
- getting electricity bills checked by independent agencies. Licences would be cancelled of any discoms that refuse the audit
The assurance was in the form of a promise and was not a casual assurance. It was not only in the nature of a contract but an actual contract. Kejriwal promised the electorate of Delhi that every consumer of electricity would incur 50% less expenditure in return for their vote. It was a set of promises. A unilateral offer was made by Kejriwal which could be accepted by performance by the voter by voting for him.
The statement in the manifesto was not a bland statement but was a promise. This solemn promise was made by a man who swears by his own honesty, by a man who was an associate of the honest Anna Hazare (till he ditched him by means which many say were dishonest means), by the honesty of an income tax commissioner who could have earned crores (not that he is not a crore pati thrice over). It was a promise of a man who calls every politician of every other party as corrupt and has built his entire campaign on honesty. Honesty, he claims s the only asset he has!
According to the promise, if the electricity bill of the household of the voter was a modest Rs 2000 per month, he would gain Rs 12000 every year, as his bill would be slashed by 50% (saving of Rs 1000/pm for 12 months). The benefit of Rs 12,000 per annum translates into a benefit of Rs 60,000 for the five years that he would be in office.
If Kejriwal’s promise was an arithmetic impossibility (as will be shown later), then the promise was a false promise without any intention of performing it. It was a fraud. And the fraud was committed to bribe and cheat the voter.
Kejriwal promise was false and an arithmetic impossibility but before the fact of his making the electricity issue the key election issue.
Kejriwal made the reduction in electricity bill of 50% a key election issue: Kejriwal promise was not an idle promise but was the main election plank. Inflated electricity bills was also a corruption issue relating to collusion between Sheila Dixit and the profiteering business houses. He exhorted the public to stop paying their electricity bills and undertook to reconnect the wires in case the distribution companies disconnected the electricity of the consumers who were not paying their bills.
Kejriwal precariously perched on a ladder while climbing on a electricity pole, his reconnecting wires of a meter were replayed in the media over and over. It is the abiding memories etched in the minds of the public. No other incident than this gimmick gave him more publicity.
The electorate, therefore, could not be blamed for believing and acting on the false promise of Kejriwal by voting for him, as he portrayed himself as an a honest man and not a politician seeking votes be it by making a false promise.
Why the promise of reducing electricity bill by 50% was false and Kejriwal knew it to be false: The economic fact was that the three distribution companies were buying all of their electricity from PUBLIC SECTOR Units which were subjected to multiple audit and also to scrutiny by the regulators like CERC and DERC.
It is also a fact that 80% of the price was paid to the generating companies by the distribution companies for purchase of electricity and its transmission, that the generating companies are PSUs which are the lowest cost source of power on account of supplying of power on cost plus basis and are also heavily audited.
If the purchase of electricity is in itself 80% of the cost, then how was it possible to reduce the tariff by 50% from the remaining 20% of the cost? No amount of audit of 20% of the cost could bring about a reduction in tariff by 50%. The other two sources of promised reduction related to excessive billing and checking of the bill by independent person which are in any case the right of every consumer who gets inflated bills. It is not applicable to all the consumers.
The energy cost component of the bill is a matter of fact and can be cross checked. An excerpt to the article in Business Standard is reproduced below.
Power purchase accounts for 80% of the cost. Bulk Power Cost which companies like BSES Rajdhani pays to NTPC has moved from Rs 1.42 per unit in 2003 to Rs 5.71 per unit in 2013. Now if cost of purchase of power for BSES itself is Rs 5.71 and the minimum billing amount is Rs 3.90, the company is naturally making losses on the lowest consumer, it is breaking even by charging Rs 5.8 for the next 200 units charged, while it makes profit only on the high consumers who are consuming over 412 units. No doubt we have heard complaints of faulty meters running at break net speeds as they try to cross the 412 unit mark.
For a person who has been an IIT graduate and an Income Tax Officer to make promises which was an arithmetic impossibility is unpardonable. The promise was an impossible promise and the person making it knew it. It was a false promise, and was made to buy votes through fraud. It was a grave act of dishonesty. It is also actionable under criminal under cheating and breach of trust.
The manner in which the tariff was to be reduced, according to the manifesto, was through, (a) audit of discoms, (b) rectifying inflated bills, and (c) getting electricity bills checked by independent agencies. Nowhere was the word subsidy was mentioned
In reality the reduction took place through subsidy, for a limited time of 3 months and for those consuming electricity for a period of 400 units only. The supposed profiteering of the corrupt business houses was not the source of reducing the bill. In fact the distribution companies were to be paid from the state exchequer.
Subsidy ultimately comes from the pockets of the electorate. It is the people’s money that is being used to bribe them. In fact where the budget is a deficit budget, which is the case for almost all states and the Centre, this money comes from the pocket of the children and the future generations.
According to the manifesto, the promise for reduction of 50% was for the entire electricity bill and not for consumers/consumption whose consumption was limited to 400 units only.
The reduction was for a mere three months period but for the entire period as promised.
The confrontational style of functioning of Kejriwal resulted in NTPC threatening not to supply power as the distribution company pleaded their inability to purchase power from the NTPC because they were not getting paid (matter is in the Court). Power cuts had already started and this would get worse in the summer months starting from April. With elections due in May, Kejriwal would have been exposed!
Is there then any doubt that Kejriwal is a dishonest man who employed dishonest means by falsely promising a bribe of Rs 60,000 (for a household paying Rs 2000/pm as electricity bill) for becoming the Chief Minister of Delhi?
Having been funded by other people (Indian and American) Kejriwal believes that that there is no dearth of money with the government. What else will a person say if he is going to bribe voters by indebting the future generation.
Corruption is not merely the taking of bribes. It is also offering of bribes. And that was the oath that Kejriwal was administering the masses (Promise not to give bribes!). And here was Kejriwal bribing the voters by stealing money from the future generations.
(Arun Agrawal is the author of the book Reliance: The Real Natwar. The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Canary Trap or any employee thereof)