Arvind Kejriwal says AAP against crony capitalism, not capitalism

Aam Aadmi Party chief and former Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that his party, which is going to contest in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, is against crony capitalism and state-run enterprises, not capitalism. 

"We are not against capitalism, but we are against crony capitalism. We are depressed when spectrum worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore is sold for Rs 6,000 crore within one week. This is not called business, it is called dacoity," Kejriwal said while addressing industry leaders at an event organised by Confederation of Indian Industry. He also sought to dismiss the belief that AAP was against business. 

Notably, Kejriwal -- who stepped down as chief minister of national capital Delhi on Friday -- said that the government should privatise sectors immediately and should focus on governance only. 

“The government has no business in business. The government should not do business. All this should be left to the private sector,” Kejriwal said, adding that AAP supports stable tax regime and reduced litigation for investment and business.  

Also, the government is required to revisit existing systems and form “proactive policies”, so as to build a robust pro-business climate, he noted. 

The AAP chief stated that the UPA government came up with the 'world's best economic policies', but since they failed to do honest politics they could not implement their economic policies. “It is only the AAP which has come with a fresh perspective." 

It may be noted that Kejriwal had ordered CAG audit of power distribution companies against Mukesh Ambani-led diversified business conglomerate Reliance Industries and also against oil minister M Veerappa Moily, citing complicity in fixing natural gas prices. 

On the decision to audit power discoms, he said that an audit does not mean that corruption happened. "One has to notice that, of the two companies (being audited), only one has a problem."   

On the controversies surrounding the first information report (FIR) filed against Ambani and Moily for complicity in gas pricing, he said: "Why should we get gas at market price? From our wells, we should get it at basic cost, plus some profits." 

Kejriwal added that only a corruption-free government can help the business grow and AAP is committed to make India corruption free. 

Interestingly, soon after coming into power, Kejriwal-led government had barred supermarket chains with foreign direct investment from opening stores in the city state. The central government had previously allowed FDI in multi-brand retail but put the ball in the state governments’ court on allowing such stores in their respective states. AAP's formal opposition to allowing such stores in Delhi ran counter to the policy move supported by the previous Congress-led state government. 

However, during the entire interaction with the industrialists, neither Kejriwal talked nor anyone raised questions on his claim that he is not against capitalism after opposing the liberalisation in the retail sector.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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