Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers on Monday took out a demonstration and clashed with the police near the chief minister’s house, triggering traffic jams.
On the eleventh day of the indefinite fast against inflated water and electricity bills by their leader Arvind Kejriwal, AAP workers moved out in 272 autorickshaws, cars, jeeps and two-wheelers from Sundar Nagri, a slum resettlement colony in north-east Delhi, shouting slogans and waving the tricolour.
The party had announced that 272 autorickshaws — representing 272 municipal wards of Delhi — would take 7-8 lakh letters wherein troubled Delhiites had pledged not to inflated power and water bills to Dikshit’s residence. Citing traffic issues, the police had claimed they would not allow it.
After Kejriwal’s speech at Sundar Nagari, the venue of his fast, scores of AAP volunteers along with autorickshaw drivers started towards New Delhi to reach Dikshit’s residence.
The slow-moving autos lined up one behind the other, causing congestion all along the route. Major roads affected included NH 24, Nizamuddin bridge, Delhi Gate, Vikas Marg, Bhairon Marg and Mathura Road.
A large police contingent stopped the procession near Pragati Maidan at Bhairon Marg. After much haggling, AAP protesters, led by Manish Sisodia, were told that only a small delegation would be allowed to go and meet Dikshit.
Leaving all the three-wheelers there, Sisodia and several other AAP supporters were taken to Dikshit’s residence on Motilal Nehru Marg in vehicles brought by the police and the administration.
However, they were not taken to CM’s residence and dropped off at different locations, including a nearby Metro station.
“The insensitivity of the Dikshit government towards Delhiites became evident today when she refused to accept protest letters written by eight lakh aam aadmis (common men) against ‘bijli-paani’.
The activists were not only stopped mid-way but the Delhi Police, who promised to take them to Dikshit, also cheated them,” Manish Sisodia, AAP spokesperson, claimed.
Despite all the drama, several AAP supporters reached Dikshit’s residence. Chaos prevailed for more than half an hour when slogan-shouting AAP protesters were picked up and taken away. Police said 28 people were detained but were later released.
Earlier in the evening, Kejriwal had declared: “Upwaas abhi lamba chalega. Main apna khoon jalane ko taiyyar hun, aap apna paseena bahaiye. (Fast will continue for a few more days. I am ready to boil by blood and you be prepared to fight vigorously.)”