The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) moved the Supreme Court in connection with a plea aimed to ban the handing out of freebies to the electorate, arguing that schemes for socio-economic welfare for the needy and disadvantaged masses cannot be described as 'freebies.'
Opposing the plea lodged by lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay, the AAP said that the petitioner was trying to use the device of the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to "camouflage" an attempt to further his political agenda, news agency PTI reported.
'Petitioner Has Strong Ties With BJP': AAP Claims
The AAP's plea claimed that the petitioner had strong ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and was merely presenting himself as a socio-political activist.
"The petitioner himself has strong links to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), having served as its spokesperson and as a leader of its Delhi unit in the past. The petitioner's frivolous petitions instituted in the name of public interest, often inspired by this party's political agenda, have come under this Court's criticism in the past," the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led party said.
It also submitted that Upadhyay's plea, under the garb of being opposed to freebies, was clearly seeking legal action against a particular model of economic development by targeting the expenditure on socialist and welfare measures for the public.
The apex court had on 3 August asked the Centre and other stakeholders to deliberate on the "serious" issue of freebies handed out ahead of elections to persuade voters, and put forward constructive suggestions to overcome the problem.
CM Kejriwal had said in a press conference earlier that an atmosphere was being created against free welfare services, such as education, healthcare, and electricity, by calling them freebies. He also demanded that such facilities should be made free on a pan-India basis.
'Kejriwal Trying To Portray Himself as a Hero': BJP
Meanwhile, the BJP on Monday slammed CM Kejriwal over the issue, saying that he had lost credibility among the people and was trying to portray himself as a "hero" by promising "revadis" (sweets) ahead of elections.
BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia said that Kejriwal lacks the "farsightedness and clarity of thought" required of a politician and that he had become a "synonym of corruption."
"The people of the country are saying that Arvind Kejriwal has done no work on the ground but wants to become a hero by distributing 'revadis' (sweets)," Bhatia said.
"His credibility among the people has become zero because he promises everything free during elections and looks to the Center for help when the time comes to fulfill those promises," the BJP spokesperson added.
(With inputs from PTI.)