The Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday kept up its indefinite agitation against the recent power tariff hike by organising sit-in protests and demonstrations at 25 places across the city to force the Sheila Dikshit Government to roll back the hike.
During the protests, the BJP workers also burnt effigies of the Chief Minister and Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission. The main agitation was organised by the party outside the DERC headquarters in which Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta and Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly V. K. Malhotra also participated.
Mr. Gupta also led a delegation of BJP leaders to meet DERC Chairman P. D. Sudhakar. The delegation asked the official to spell out the justification for increasing the power tariff. It also said that when the audit of the discoms has not been completed for the year 2011-12, then what was basis for affecting the hike.
Mr. Gupta also criticised the statement of the Chief Minister that the hike will not be rolled back. He demanded that the Comptroller and Auditor General of India audit the accounts of the discoms and the Central Bureau of Investigation probe the irregularities. Further, the BJP leader also called for bringing the DERC and power companies under the ambit of the Right to Information Act.
Prof. Malhotra for his part said the increase in power tariff was not just 26 per cent as was being made out by the Chief Minister. Instead, he said, for the bulk of the consumers who normally use between 200 and 400 units of power the rate has gone up sharply from Rs. 3 per unit to Rs. 5.18 per unit signifying a jump of over 70 per cent.
Meanwhile, former Union Minister and BJP national general secretary Vijay Goel, who led a party-organised protest at Baratooti Chowk in Sadar Bazar, also staged a surprise protest along with his supporters at Talkatora Stadium, where Ms. Dikshit had gone to address the RWA-Bhagidari meet. However, in order to prevent a clash between the Congress and the BJP workers, the police prevented Mr. Goel and his supporters from entering the stadium.
Mr. Goel charged that the Bhagidari-RWA meet was a “fake workshop” where only a select few were allowed to speak and entry was strictly by invitation only.
He said “no one had bothered to take the opinion of the RWAs before increasing the tariffs and through the meet an attempt was being made to give it a semblance of some sanctity and acceptance.”