"Time has come to motivate people against illegal rise in taxes."
Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday started his indefinite fast against inflated power and electricity bills from a house in Sundar Nagri, a low-income group resettlement colony in North-East Delhi.
In what is being seen as the beginning of his campaign ahead of the Delhi Assembly election due later this year, he accused the Sheila Dikshit government of being apathetic to the concerns of the common public and looting them via a nexus with the power distribution companies.
While urging Delhites not to pay “illegal” and inflated power and water bills, Mr. Kejriwal promised that any legal action against them would be revoked once the AAP comes to power in the city. Before starting his “civil disobedience” movement, he visited Raj Ghat and also paid his respects to martyrs Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru at Shahid Park. He was joined by AAP leaders Prashant Bhushan, Manish Sisodia and Yogendra Yadav.
Mr. Kejriwal started the indefinite fast at the house of Santosh, who was a “victim” of inflated bills and who reportedly took loans to pay the bills. “From today, we are beginning this fast. Right from this day, I am not going to pay my water and power bills. These are illegal and fake bills. The Delhi government is hand in glove with the discoms,” he said, adding that the purpose of his fast was to mobilise more and more people against the “illegal” bills.
“If I fast, then people will get encouraged. This time we are not asking anything from the government, this time I appeal to Delhiites not to pay their bills,” he added. While encouraging people to join his fast, Mr. Kejriwal said if his movement gets popular support, the Delhi government and the power discoms won’t have the courage to take action against them.
With a population of over two lakhs, Sundar Nagri falls under the Seemapuri Assembly constituency, a Congress bastion. But Mr. Kejriwal’s enthusiastic supporters in the resettlement colony are hopeful that the area will see a change.
“We have been voting for the Congress party since a very long time and used to vote for the BJP before that. But we have realised now that both are two sides of the same coin and are similar when it comes to exploiting the common public. AAP is our hope,” said one supporter while cheering for Mr. Kejriwal.
The AAP leaders present on the occasion said there wouldn’t be any demonstrations on the issue; instead the AAP volunteers will carry out a door-to-door campaign across Delhi to ask people to join the movement.