iconimg Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Nivedita Khandekar , Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 19, 2013
Initially they asked for your time. Then they asked for donations in cash or kind for the assembly polls. Now the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is asking for your opinion regarding government formation at a cost. Interestingly, the number (08806110335) that AAP has floated for Delhiites to respond is not a city number but a Mumbai one. It means, a Delhiite who wants his opinion taken into account not just spends money for a call/SMS but also spends more. Depending on plans and service providers, it works out to Rs. 1.5 or Rs. 2.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led party on Tuesday announced that it was reaching out to Delhiites through SMS/calls/website to know if the party should form government with Congress support.

Read: Govt plays along, to hold off Prez rule till AAP decides

Omesh Saigal, former chief secretary of Delhi, in a letter to Kejriwal, pointed out that even if one SMS/phone call costs just Rs. 1, the amount that may seem small can total to Rs. 1 crore.

“Is it justified to ask people to spend so much money so that you can take a decision?” asked Saigal, who is also an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, Kejriwal’s alma mater.

Dilip Pandey, AAP’s Delhi official, admitted the number indeed is a Mumbai number and said this was the party’s old long code (number used for such facilities). He dismissed this cost as “minor” to bring in a good government compared with the toll taken by a corrupt government.

Read: Experts question accuracy of Kejriwal’s referendum on govt formation

“But we are putting in place two numbers for people to express their opinion - one each for yes and no - through a ‘missed call’,” Pandey said.

Full Coverage: Hung verdict in Delhi