Delhi's auto-rickshaw drivers are crying betrayal by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), alleging the party failed to deliver on the promises it had made to them in the run-up to the Delhi Assembly elections.
The auto drivers had emerged as a strong support group for the fledgling party in the December 2013 Delhi Assembly elections. Hundreds of auto-rickshaws carried posters of the party, tom-toming about the "honest" Arvind Kejriwal against the "corrupt" Sheila Dikshit government.
The auto-rickshaw drivers, under the banner of Nyayabhoomi (an NGO that works for the welfare of auto drivers), have pasted new posters on their backs, detailing the promises that AAP has failed to fulfill.
"Kejriwal betrayed our trust. The AAP government did not take even a single step that would benefit auto drivers. He (Kejriwal) had promised to check auto-finance mafia, creation of thousands of auto stands, rationalisation of auto fare, loan facilities, easing of permit conditions, etc. But no promise has been fulfilled," said Rakesh Agarwal of Nyayabhoomi.
The AAP refused to react to the allegations.
"Kejriwal exploited auto drivers emotionally and did not deliver anything other than speeches," said Shailendra Sharma, who claims to be closely associated with AAP during Delhi assembly elections.
Auto drivers said they joined the AAP as volunteers and devoted several months to the cause of AAP. "At a rally in Burari, Kejriwal claimed that our autos will not be impounded. The fact is that the autos continue to be impounded and auto drivers are paying fines in excess of `10,000," alleged Satish Saluja, another auto driver.
Hundreds of auto drivers gathered at Ambedkar Bhawan near Jhandewalan to launch a poster campaign against AAP and Arvind Kejriwal.
"We have initially put up posters on 125-odd auto-rickshaws. From Saturday, we are launching a drive across the city to put up posters on 50,000 auto-rickshaws," Agarwal said.