A day before he was in the saddle as Delhi’s Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal had to placate angry slum dwellers protesting outside his residence in Ghaziabad against the demolition of their settlements.
On Tuesday, it was the turn of disappointed e-rickshaw drivers, anxious students and a varied mix of residents to draw his attention to their problems.
The Aam Aadmi Party, which came to power in Delhi promising subsidised power, free water and so on, finds itself confronted with a long list of expectations, barely days into its new role.
The e-rickshaw drivers demanded withdrawal of the government rules which allow on the road only vehicles bought from manufacturers meeting stringent requirements, while a group of students wanted more colleges in Delhi as it now had too few — a problem that the AAP promised to address in its manifesto.
‘Ready to deliver’ The AAP, which promised to slash power tariffs by half and offer 20,000 litres of free water to every household, apart from making Delhi graft-free, says it is prepared to deliver. “People have rested immense faith in us. It is a little overwhelming, but from our end we are ready to do our best. We are also prepared to learn as we go. For example, we had a group of students today suggesting that instead of opening new colleges, we can start evening classes in the existing colleges, so we are learning,” said Atishi Marlena of the AAP.
Demolition politics The State government’s announcement of a moratorium on demolitions in the city has led to a political backlash.
The BJP has been quick to point out that it was the Centre, which first announced relief from demolitions.
BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said that last December, the Centre introduced the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Bill, 2014, to protect those who would have been affected by demolitions of unauthorised colonies.
“Put simply, the Centre had already statutorily granted unauthorised colonies protection from demolition since December 2014, which the Delhi government has now so glamorously directed. It would seem that the new AAP government is not only selling old wine in new bottles, but is now resorting to selling old wine in even older bottles also,” she said.