Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal on Friday announced that he would end his fast on Saturday at 4 pm, claiming that 10.50 lakh Delhiites had signed letters protesting the inflated power and water bills.
Kejriwal has been on an indefinite fast against “inflated power and water bills due to corruption” for the past 14 days.
“These 10.50 lakh letters signed by Delhiites for (Delhi Chief Minister) Sheila Dikshit are in a way a referendum, a huge referendum,” said Kejriwal, who has been camping since March 23 at Sundar Nagari, a slum redevelopment cluster in northeast Delhi.
AAP volunteers have been simultaneously carrying out the civil disobedience movement through 264 centres at various municipal wards to get Delhiites to sign a letter, pledging they would not pay inflated power and water bills.
“Considering a family has a minimum of 3-4 persons, through this exercise, we have been able to reach out to almost 30-35 lakh people. Dikshit had polled 24 lakh votes in the last elections. This means, more people than that have demanded power rates be lowered,” Kejriwal said.
“Does this mean, all these people will actually stop paying bills? Possibly no. But this is a beginning. Even if 30-40 % of these people don’t pay the bills, it will be more than enough,” added Kejriwal, who has lost more than 8 kg weight since March 23.
Announcing the second phase of civil disobedience movement, he said, “Starting Saturday — coinciding with the anniversary of event when Mahatma Gandhi broke the Salt Act on completion of Dandi March on April 6, 1930 — we will reconnect power to those houses where connections have been snapped due to non-payment of bills.”
A former close aide of Anna Hazare, Kejriwal said he had thought that he will break his fast after accepting a glass of juice from Hazare.
“But he (Hazare) is busy with his own schedule and has sent his blessings,” Kejriwal said.
“My fast ends tomorrow, but the civil disobedience movement will continue,” the AAP leader declared.