The ongoing rivalry between the two Chief Ministers of Goa and Delhi heated up once again on Wednesday, with Pramod Sawant accusing Arvind Kejriwal of copying his scheme for government-sponsored pilgrimages and passing it off as his own.
“I had announced it in the budget and my scheme was ready too. My scheme has been notified too. Registration too has begun for those who want to undertake a ‘teerth yatra’. He copies my schemes. He is habituated to this. He is a copymaster,” Goa Chief Minister Sawant told reporters here.
Sawant’s comments came days after Kejriwal during his visit to poll-bound Goa on November 1 announced free government-sponsored pilgrimages to the Ram temple at Ayodhya, Ajmer Sharif and Velankanni for Hindus, Muslims and Christians, respectively.
Sawant now claims that the scheme was first announced by his government in his budget speech for the year 2021-22.
“You refer to the scheme in my budget booklet. The scheme has been notified now. He (Kejriwal) has announced this, so that he can claim later that because he made the announcement, we have followed suit. It was highlighted in the budget,” the Goa Chief Minister said.
He said that Kejriwal’s poll promise was copied from his budget speech, which had allocated R. 2.5 crore for the ‘Mukhyamantri Devdarshan Scheme’ for senior citizens in association with the Indian Railways’ Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation.
While Kejriwal announced the pilgrimage scheme as a poll promise in Goa on November 1, the Aam Aadmi Party government had actually announced the scheme in its 2018-19 budget, which also allocated Rs.53 crore for its implementation.
Sawant and Kejriwal have been calling each other ‘copycats’, after the Delhi Chief Minister in September this year first accused his Goa counterpart of duplicating Delhi government initiatives.
“I believe that whatever is happening in Delhi, he (Sawant) is copying it in Goa. When the original is available, why do you need a duplicate? When the people of Goa can vote for the original, why do you need a duplicate? The duplicate person will end up doing gadbad (confusion),” Kejriwal had said on September 21.
Following Kejriwal’s charge, Sawant had accused Kejriwal of imitating him the following day.
“In fact, it is he who is copying me… Our government does what it says, unlike others who only talk. Whatever I say, I do it,” Sawant had responded.