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Delhi to have single helpline for civic grievances by 2017: Kejriwal

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Delhi Elections 2015 and AAP

 

New Delhi: The Delhi government is planning a one-stop helpline for Delhiites, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said. But the helpline will have to wait till the municipal polls in 2017 which the AAP is hoping to win.

“We are planing a single helpline for people. But that will have to wait till we win the corporation elections in 2017,” Kejriwal told IANS at the Delhi secretariat.

Kejriwal said he realized that a majority of civic complaints are related to grievances against the local corporations. But very few knew, he said, that the Delhi government had no control over these corporations — the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and the East Delhi Municipal Corporation – which are run by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“But we keep getting the blame as people think that having voted us to power with such a large majority, we should be able to solve their problems,” Kejriwal said.

He also said that people, not knowing where to call, end up calling the wrong departmental helplines and were shunted around. 

“People don’t know where to call. If the problem is related to MCD, they call up PWD. The helpline will be started only after we win the MCD poll,” Kejriwal stated. 

“The call made at this (proposed) helpline will be forwarded to other departments depending on the nature of the grievance,” he added.

Presently, the Delhi government’s Anti-Corruption Helpline — 1031– is among the most dialed ones. The Women’s Helpline — 181 — is another service run by the city government. There are also helplines related to water and power woes.

Delhi’s three main municipal corporation are controlled by the BJP. The elections to these civic bodies are due in early 2017.

With an eye on these polls, Kejriwal, along with his ministers, addressed a big rally of sanitation workers last week, assuring them that their grievances would be addressed once he came to power in civic bodies too.

“I assure you that we have a lot of ideas and we can turn the municipal corporations into a profitable civic agency within one year,” Kejriwal told the rally on Monday, alluding to the loss-making corporations and their inability to pay the salaries of sanitation workers, particularly in east and north Delhi, who have resorted to piling up garbage on the streets in protest.

“Though we are not ruling the corporations – east, north and south corporations – we are ready to help the BJP-led corporations,” he declared.

He also generously announced an advance of Rs.500 crore to the cash-strapped north and east corporations to enable them to pay the salaries of sanitation workers and other employees.

(IANS)

Next Story

Sukhpal Singh Khaira’s Exit Raises Questions Over AAP’s Future in Punjab

Though the damage done by the party to itself in the last three years will be known after the forthcoming parliamentary elections, it will be a sad day for people in Punjab who saw AAP as a third viable option but were let down by the party itself

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File photo: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with Deputy CM Manish Sisodia.

The recent exit of politically outspoken leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) fold in Punjab, at a time when general elections are around the corner, has raised a question mark over the party’s political future in the state.

It is not that Khaira, who was elected on the AAP ticket in the February 2017 assembly polls, was indispensable for the party in Punjab.

His exit, however, has shown that the AAP central leadership in Delhi continues to be unaffected by the self-created crisis in the Punjab unit that began in August 2016.

Khaira, who was suspended from the AAP along with another legislator, Kanwar Sandhu, in November 2018 for “anti-party activities”, last week floated a new party – Punjabi Ekta Party (PEP) – and has given enough indications of splitting the AAP down the middle.

Six AAP legislators in the state were present at the launch of the new party even though they did not share the stage with Khaira.

The AAP’s Punjab unit is in complete disarray – be it the leadership crisis, lack of political direction or agenda or the complete disillusionment of its cadre.

Max hospital
Arvind Kejriwal.

It’s not the first time that the AAP central leadership has committed political harakiri with the Punjab unit. It has become clear now that the AAP central leadership, instead of letting the Punjab unit take on the ruling Congress and the SAD-BJP alliance, ends up shooting itself in the foot every time.

Khaira was earlier unceremoniously removed as Leader of Opposition (LoP) by the AAP central leadership in July 2018. He openly rebelled against the party high command by dissolving the the AAP’s Punjab organisational structure and seeking complete autonomy for the state unit.

The AAP ousted its then Punjab unit chief, Sucha Singh Chhotepur, on flimsy bribery charges in August 2016, just months ahead of the assembly polls.

Chhotepur, who nurtured the party right from the day of its conception in Punjab, was shown the door after the emergence of a video clip in which an AAP worker was shown giving money to him. Even before this, Chhotepur was being sidelined in Punjab affairs with Delhi leaders like Sanjay Singh and Durgesh Pathak calling all the shots.

As the Chhotepur episode unfolded, AAP leaders at the constituency and district level rebelled. Chhotepur, who accused the AAP central leadership of corruption in allotting tickets for various assembly seats, finally exited the party and formed a new political outfit – the Apna Punjab Party (APP) that has practically remained a non-starter.

The AAP appointed actor-comedian Gurpreet Ghuggi, with no political experience, as its state convener in place of Chhotepur. Ghuggi left the party on a sour note just months later.

Two AAP MPs from Punjab, Dharamvira Gandhi and Harinder Khalsa, were suspended in August 2015 for questioning the AAP’s leadership style.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. Flickr

Gandhi, a cardiologist and known social worker, is the MP from Patiala constituency, while Khalsa, a former diplomat, represents Fatehgarh Sahib in the Lok Sabha. Gandhi was also unceremoniously removed from the post of leader of AAP in the Lok Sabha.

The AAP, which was completely rejected elsewhere in the country in the April-May 2014 general elections, won four Lok Sabha seats from Punjab – Sangrur, Patiala, Faridkot and Fatehgarh Sahib.

The AAP started the year 2016 on an upswing. Poll surveys and the party’s own political calculations gave it anything from 75 to over 100 seats in the 117-member assembly.

The party, however, finished second and managed to end up as the main opposition party with 20 legislators. One legislator, lawyer-activist H.S. Phoolka, resigned from the assembly seat recently and even quit the AAP.

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With Khaira’s exit, his status as a legislator and the future of the six legislators who seem to be in his camp, will be seen in the coming months.

The party, which is the newest entrant on Punjab political scene – dominated largely by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress over the decades – is facing as much a challenge from its implosion.

Though the damage done by the party to itself in the last three years will be known after the forthcoming parliamentary elections, it will be a sad day for people in Punjab who saw AAP as a third viable option but were let down by the party itself. (IANS)