After parting ways with Anna Hazare, the Arvind Kejriwal-led India Against Corruption (IAC) on Sunday led around 300-400 people at Jantar Mantar to protest the hike in power tariff in the Capital.
They burnt electricity bills and alleged the Delhi government and private discoms were out to loot people. Power tariff in Delhi has gone up by 26 per cent in the past few months.
Nearly 70 IAC activists reached chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s residence at Janpath from where the police whisked them away. At Jantar Mantar, the protesters raised slogans such as ‘Jalta hai Dilli ka dil, waapas lo bijli ka bill', ‘Bijli humari-aapki, nahi kisi ke baap ki’.
Kejriwal urged people to stop paying electricity bills. “If the entire city stops paying, the Delhi government will get to know the people’s power. We will chase away officials if they come to cut supply,” he said.
Kejriwal alleged that the hike in tariff came in July, despite Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission recommending that there should be reduction in prices. “Power tariff should have gone down by 23%. Instead it has gone up by 200%. A middle-class family which paid Rs. 474 for 210 units now pays Rs. 1,089,” he said.
“If the chief minister does not roll back the tariff hike and order a comptroller and auditor general (CAG) audit in two weeks, we will assemble again at Jantar Mantar and march to her house,” Kejriwal threatened. Other prominent activists who attended the protest included Prashant Bhushan, Manish Sisodia, Kumar Vishwas and Sanjay Singh.
Even as volunteers displayed ‘We will miss you Annaji. We are one’ placards, Kejriwal said, “Annaji is still in our hearts. Both groups may come together in three-four months. Our paths may be different but our goal — fighting corruption — remains the same.”
Hazare and his supporters, including Kiran Bedi, parted ways with the Kejriwal-led group on September 19 over anti-graft movement turning political. The protest is being seen as a prelude to the group’s entry into politics ahead of the Delhi assembly elections.