Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s pet odd-even scheme came for a scathing attack in Parliament on Monday with members alleging it would “generate corruption” and was aimed at “insulting” MPs as they sought exemption from the scheme to attend Parliament.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour in Lok Sabha, Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav contended that the scheme would not help CNG companies and companies manufacturing buses and cars and would hardly reduce pollution.
He said Kejriwal had introduced the scheme to gain “cheap popularity”.
Citing an IIT-Kanpur study, he said the pollution from cars was a mere 5% and the Delhi government had failed to address other issues which contribute to the remaining 95 per cent of pollution.
While this was strongly contested by AAP member Bhagwant Mann, some BJP members were seen supporting Ranjan’s plea.
In the Rajya Sabha, Naresh Agrawal from SP made a strong pitch for exempting MPs from the scheme as has been done for some other sections, a view that found resonance among most of parties as well as Deputy Chairman of the House P J Kurien.
Going hammer and tongs against Delhi government over the move, Agrawal alleged it has done so to “insult” the MPs and wondered why the Centre was “silent” on the issue.
Ridiculing the AAP government of Delhi over the scheme which he said was an outcome of its penchant for new rules, Agrawal said days were not far when rules will be framed to prescribe “A and B will walk on the road on a particular day and C and D some other day. Only women will use the road one day and the next day only men.”
Congress member Rajiv Shukla said MPs should be “exempted” from the scheme.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress deputy leader Anand Sharma backed the views saying the scheme was coming in the way of discharing their duties.
Kurien also supported the sentiments noting that the government’s duty was to help MPs discharge their duty in Parliament and asked why did the Parliamentary Affairs Minister not take up the matter with the Delhi government.
“Or going by the suggestion of Shukla, MPs’ vehicles should be exempted from the scheme,” he said.
Agrawal wondered what will happen if the elected government of Delhi starts interfering in Lutyens’ Delhi.
“The Delhi government did not exempt the MPs deliberately in order to insult them even as many others were exempted. Ever since the odd-even scheme has been launched, we are facing problems.
“MPs get only one sticker of Parliament which they can put on their vehicles. There should be some alternative arrangement,” he said referring to the recent incident of a BJP MP violating the scheme in protest and paying a fine of Rs 3,500.
Congress leader Anand Sharma said the scheme was coming in the way of MPs discharging their duties and not being able to attend the meetings of Parliamentary Committees due to it.
Wondering how the scheme could be implemented when Parliament was in session, Sharma urged the Centre to take a call and insisted that “this issue needs to be addressed”.
His party college Rajiv Shukla said “the only solution is that MP-labelled cars should be exempted.”
JD(U)’s K C Tyagi, while supported the demand for exemption of MPs’ vehicles, said that criticising the scheme or Delhi government on this pretext was not correct as it had indeed brought down pollution and has been commended even by some foreign countries.
Azad said many MPs have told him about inconvenience they were facing due to the scheme.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said in a lighter vein that the Opposition should first allow working in Parliament, at which Kurien quipped “even if they have to disrupt, they will have to come here”.
Taking the sentiments of members into account, Kurien said he thinks this matter needed to be taken up and asked Naqvi to take it up immediately.
At an all-party convened here ahead of the session, some MPs had on Sunday sought relief from the Speaker saying some members were facing inconvenience due to it.
Raising the issue at the meeting, TRS leader A P Jithender Reddy said even Parliamentarians like him were facing problems in commuting in Delhi due to the scheme as they had only one car here and only one sticker was issued to them by the Lok Sabha exempting them.
His request found some favour from the Speaker who later said she has asked the Lok Sabha secretariat to work out ways so that MPs do not suffer while commuting.
The second phase of the scheme began on April 15 and will go on till April 30