On April Fools’ Day, the Delhi Police virtually pulled a gag on Aam Aadmi Party supporters, when instead of taking them to meet Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, as promised, they were herded into a bus and left at the Indraprastha Metro Station. The volunteers were on their way to deliver protest letters, signed by Delhi residents on the power issue, at Ms. Dikshit’s residence.
In the meantime, the AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal on Monday refused to break his fast, which entered the tenth day, and vowed to carry on the “civil disobedience movement” against “inflated” power bills till his demands were met. He asked Ms. Dikshit if she was scared of receiving lakhs of protest letters signed by the common citizens of Delhi against “inflated” power bills.
On Monday morning, the AAP volunteers took the 8 lakh protest letters from the Sundar Nagri site of Kejriwal’s fast in 272 slow-moving auto-rickshaws – representing the 272 wards of Delhi – and headed towards the CM residence. But they were stopped by the police at Bhairon Marg near Pragati Maidan in Central Delhi and were shifted into waiting buses.
The police promised to take the volunteers to the Chief Minister’s residence, but later told them that Ms. Dikshit was not available. They then dropped them at the Indraprastha Metro Station on Ring Road. This led to a massive traffic snarl on Ring Road as the police parked its buses by the roadside.
Later, some AAP activists managed to reach outside Ms. Dikshit’s residence to deliver the protest letters. Shouting slogans against the Chief Minister, some of them even threw the protest letters inside the gates of her bungalow. The police immediately swung into action and again rounded up and removed the protesters from the area.
Meanwhile, when requested to break his fast, Mr. Kejriwal politely refused. “This opportunity to fight against the corrupt has come after many decades, and we may not get another one in many more years to come. I will continue my fast. The country is more important. A life can be sacrificed for the larger good of the nation. I am ready to continue my fast, you get ready to struggle.’’
AAP spokesperson Aswathi Muralidharan said: “More than 7.92 lakh people had signed these protest letters addressed to Sheila Dikshit till March 31 night. In the letters, Delhi residents had expressed their agony over inflated electricity and water bills. The Delhi Government, which has 49% stake in the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission, has, however, failed to listen to the people’s woes....Despite extreme weakness, Mr. Kejriwal’s health parameters remained in normal range. His blood pressure is 109/74, pulse is 76, sugar is 128 and ketones are between 2+ and 3+.”