Kejriwal has lunch with Dalit family from Gujarat; Oppn. calls it ‘yet another gimmick’

Kejriwal trying to bridge the gap between the public and its representatives, says AAP leader; BJP asks what has he done for the families of Delhi sanitation workers who died during COVID

September 27, 2022 01:42 am | Updated 01:42 am IST - New Delhi

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal having lunch with the family of a sanitation worker from Gujarat at his residence in New Delhi. AAP MP Raghav Chadha is also seen in the photo.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal having lunch with the family of a sanitation worker from Gujarat at his residence in New Delhi. AAP MP Raghav Chadha is also seen in the photo. | Photo Credit: PTI

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday met a Dalit sanitation worker and his family from Gujarat at his Delhi residence.

The meeting invited sharp criticism from the BJP and the Congress with the former alleging that the AAP chief was only “pretending” to be sympathetic to Dalits.

Mr. Kejriwal had invited the sanitation worker, Harsh Solanki, to the Capital at a townhall in Ahmedabad on Sunday, which was part of AAP’s campaign for the upcoming Assembly election in Gujarat.

“We don’t have time for petty politics; we work for the public and that’s why they like us. The public first formed our government in Delhi, then in Punjab and now the people of Gujarat are saying that AAP’s government is going to be formed there too,” Mr. Kejriwal said on Monday after having lunch with Mr. Solanki and his family.

School, hospital visit

The family also visited a Delhi government school and hospital. Mr. Solanki was quoted as saying by AAP that “government schools and hospitals like Delhi’s should be built in Gujarat too”. He also gifted Mr. Kejriwal a photo of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, said AAP.

AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha said till now leaders used to go to people’s houses for votes, but today a leader has heartily invited someone’s family to come to his house and termed it a “big shift”. “For many years there has been a gap between the public and their representatives, this is an attempt to bridge that gap,” he said.

BJP MLA and Leader of the Opposition in Assembly Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, however, accused Mr. Kejriwal of ignoring the families of santitation workers in Delhi who risked their lives while working during the peak of COVID-19 in the city.

‘No compensation’

“As many as 206 sanitation workers died during the pandemic in Delhi when they were engaged in the service of COVID patients... The Kejriwal government neither considered them corona warriors nor released ₹1 crore compensation to each of them. The Chief Minister had publicly claimed that sanitation workers would be provided with life-saving kits but those were never issued to them,” he said.

The Delhi Congress called the meeting “yet another gimmick” by the Chief Minister to mislead the Dalit community.

Delhi Congress chief Anil Kumar said, “Kejriwal’s anti-Dalit attitude is evident from the fact that he has not raised his voice against the draft report by the delimitation committee for MCD wards, which has cut down Dalit-dominated reserved wards at the behest of the BJP.”

He added that in recent months many Dalit workers have died while manually cleaning manholes but the Delhi government has not given any financial compensation to the families of those workers.

Schemes announced by the Delhi government for the SC, ST and OBC communities, Mr. Bidhuri alleged, were not implemented and up to 82% of the funds allocated for their welfare was not spent.

He said ₹433.65 crore was earmarked for the welfare of these sections in 2020-21, which was later reduced to ₹268.52 crore, but out of that only 18.35% amount was spent. 

“Similarly, ₹465.72 crore was kept in this category in 2021-22, which was reduced to ₹425.13 crore. Of this amount, only 32.28% was spent. This shows the negligence of the Kejriwal government towards the upliftment of these sections. He should stop doing such gimmicks as this lie has already been caught like his other lies,” Mr. Bidhuri said.

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