The ruling Aam Aadmi Party and opposition Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday clashed over the second phase of odd-even policy as the road rationing scheme in Delhi entered its second day.
After Arvind Kejriwal attacked the Centre alleging it wanted the odd-even scheme to fail, BJP leader Vijay Goel hit back at the chief minister, accusing him of looting the people of the national capital in the name of the traffic-control measure, through ‘extravagant, unnecessary’ advertisements.
“The Kejriwal-led government is less concerned with traffic and pollution and are more bothered about advertising themselves with the tax money of the people. They are spending crores on advertisement which are being displayed on the streets, radio, television, newspapers and are being flashed outside Delhi as well. All this is tax money,” Goel told ANI.
“This government has come to the streets without any preparation. Under the fear of the Rs 2000 fine, they are enforcing odd-even when it should be voluntary,” Goel added.
In Jan too, BJP tried to fail odd-even by orchestrating officers' strike. Ppl failed BJP n made odd-even success(2/2 pic.twitter.com/EhHPMq1CK6— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) April 16, 2016
Day 1 as it happened: 511 fined, mixed response, AAP satisfied
The BJP leader also dared Kejriwal to permanently ‘implement’ the scheme if he believed that it was actually successful.
“I dare him to implement it once and for all. If odd-even is so successful, then he should have no problem doing it. Kejriwal is putting the scheme in place every month for 15 days only for advertising purposes. A farce is being played in the name of odd-even,” Goel said.
Earlier in the day, Kejriwal had come out all guns blazing and said that the BJP and the RSS wanted the traffic control formula to crash and burn.
“BJP appeals ppl to break odd-even. BJP auto union calls strike. BJP wants odd-even to fail. But Del will fail BJP. In Jan too, BJP tried to fail odd-even by orchestrating officers’ strike. Ppl failed BJP n made odd-even success,” Kejriwal said in a series of tweets.
Kejriwal also posted newspaper cutouts and tweets that said that the formula was a success.
On Friday, the Delhi CM had accused a BJP-linked union of organising a strike that threatened to take scores of auto-rickshaws and taxis off the streets on Monday when the government will face its real test when schools and offices reopen after a long weekend.
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia also attacked the saffron party saying there shouldn’t be any politics on the issue as the people of Delhi are happy with the scheme.
Sisodia said if the BJP is not happy with the happiness of Delhi’s residents then they should take their stand.
He also said a cycle is not the only solution to making the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme a success in a reaction to Goel’s tweet that he should cycle every day.
“I welcome @msisodia using cycle. Hope he does this every day,” Goel had posted on Twitter.
Sisodia said the cycle is one of the mediums being used to promote the odd-even scheme, adding that existing forms of public transport and the Delhi Metro are other options that can be used by the public.
He said that if a few buses breakdown out of thousands is normal as at times cars also breakdown.
“In the month of May and June heat will increase and it would be difficult to ride cycle hence they are planning to introduce high-end buses soon” he added.
He said that auto and taxi drivers should also cooperate as reducing pollution is not his or Kejriwal’s personal problem.
Violators on Day 1 of the odd-even plan’s second phase faced a police and transport department crackdown on Friday but the scheme’s impact on air pollution was unclear.
The Delhi transport department fined 1,311 people, signalling the administration planned to get tough with violators. Friday began with air pollution far exceeding permissible limits but those levels dipped as the day progressed due to increasing wind speeds.
Experts said the administration had a smooth ride as Friday was a holiday due to Ram Navami with schools and offices closed. The long weekend also meant many Delhiites were out of town.
Monday is set to be a tougher with auto and taxi unions calling a strike against app-based cab services such as Ola and Uber. In the absence of private cars, many Delhiites rely on the city’s 82,000 autos and 15,000 “kaali peeli” taxis and the strike could hit the already burdened Metro and bus networks.
Kejriwal had launched the odd-even scheme for 15 days from January 1 to improve the city’s air quality — considered the worst in the world — and free up its notoriously choked roads.