Social activist Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday led a protest against the Delhi government on power tariff hike and asked people not to pay electricity bills. The protest was the first after his split with Anna Hazare. Around 300-400 people gathered at Jantar Mantar where Mr. Kejriwal announced a new ‘Civil Disobedience Movement,’ asking people not to pay the bills if the Sheila Dikshit government did not order an audit by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of private discoms (power distribution companies).
Mr. Kejriwal said Mr. Hazare lived in their hearts and expressed the hope that he “will come back to them in three-four months once he sees our honest and dedicated work.”
“None can take him [Mr. Hazare] away from us. It is just that while he believes that politics is a dirty thing, we are of the view that we have to enter politics to clean it,” he said.
Mr. Hazare and his supporters, including Kiran Bedi, parted ways with the Kejriwal-led group on September 19 over the anti-graft movement taking a plunge into politics.
The protest, which is seen as a prelude to the group’s formal entry into politics, demonstrated the keenness of Mr. Kejriwal to fight the Delhi Assembly elections slated next year as it targeted the Congress government in the capital.
The group, which has decided to form a party, has earlier indicated that it will not fight the Assembly elections in BJP-ruled Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh scheduled later this year, as it could not get its act together there.
Bills set ablaze
At the protest, people set afire electricity bills, alleging there was collusion between the city government and the discoms to increase power tariff and help private companies earn more.
Mr. Kejriwal accused the Prime Minister of lying on the issue of FDI and diesel price hike. “The Prime Minister terms capping supply of subsidised LPG cylinders and diesel hike reforms. This is not reform but deforming the country,” he said.
Mr. Kejriwal alleged that the Delhi government and private discoms were conniving together to “loot” people.
On forming a political party, he said, “They say I am doing politics. Yes, I am doing politics. We are doing politics for the people. They do politics to indulge in corruption.”
Activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan contested Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia’s remark that ‘loss is a matter of fact and profit and gain is a matter of opinion,’ saying such statements were “unfortunate.”