New Delhi: The free-ride scheme for women on Delhi public buses might be extended to senior citizens, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said as the initiative took off on Tuesday (October 29).

This scheme would help in women empowerment by bridging the gender gap that exists in society, the chief minister said on his mobile application "AK App".

"Now, girls and women who had to drop out of schools and colleges because of high transportation costs don't need to sacrifice their education. They can now take buses to good schools and colleges which are away from their homes. Similarly, women whose offices are far need not worry about transportation cost," Kejriwal said.

Women taking Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and cluster buses were on Tuesday issued pink tickets of the face value of Rs 10 by conductors under the scheme. The government would reimburse transporters based on the number of such tickets issued.

"Bus rides for senior citizens and students might be made free too in the coming days," Kejriwal said on the app, which was launched by him ahead of the Assembly polls in Delhi.

"Every step cannot be completed at once. We will do it. Let us start with women and see the results, and based on the result, and we will deliberate on making these rides free for senior citizens and students too in the future," he said.

The AAP national convenor slammed his rivals for questioning his plans to provide such facilities to citizens, saying some things need to be "above politics" and these parties need to realise this.

Delhi is scheduled to go to the polls early next year, and opposition parties claimed that the AAP government is giving "freebies" to woo voters.

"Rajiv Gandhi (former prime minister) had said out of Rs 100 spent for the welfare of people, Rs 85 goes into corruption, and just Rs 15 reaches people. We are saving those Rs 85 and giving facilities to the people of Delhi. Then what problem does the opposition parties have if I am working towards the welfare of the people? They should get above politics in these matters," Kejriwal said.

On the deployment of marshals on buses, he said they would now be deployed in all the public buses to ensure the safety and protection of women.

"I warn all goons harassing women in buses that if you try to harass women, there are marshals to take care of you," Kejriwal said.

Speaking to MyNation, BJP chief spokesperson, Krishna Saagar Rao objected Kejriwal's approach and said that it was "clearly an election gimmick".

"Aravind Kejriwal who promised corruption-free governance with the most corrupt ministers and MLAs of AAP, is always swinging between extremes. Currently, he is on 'extreme appeasement' mode, as the elections are nearing," Rao said. 

"BJP wonders how he has suddenly remembered women, senior citizens and students transport issues and rolling out freebies. Voters are not as gullible as Aravind Kejriwal assumes. Everyone understands his election gimmicks," he further added. 

"Kejriwal's antics are juvenile, and his anarchic initiatives recently during Diwali has cost Delhi small traders in Connaught Place a humongous loss of business. BJP wishes Delhi voters to be vigilant of AAP's electoral appeasement," Rao said requesting the voters to elect the right candidate in the upcoming Delhi Legislative Assembly election.