Members of Parliament, except those from the Aam Aadmi Party, attacked the odd-even car rationing scheme, saying it prevented them from attending the House and amounted to insult of parliamentarians.
At least a dozen MPs, mostly from the BJP, drove to Parliament in cars with even number plates on an odd day on Monday.
The BJP’s Ahmedabad MP Paresh Rawal, Meerut MP Rajendra Agarwal, Fatehpur Sikri MP Babulal, Phoolpur MP Kashav Maurya, Karnal MP Ashwini Kumar, Damoh MP Prahlad Singh Patel, North-West Delhi MP Udit Raj, and Pauri Grahwal MP BC Khanduri arrived in cars with even numbers.
The BSP’s member in Rajya Sabha Saleem Ansari, too, reached Parliament in cars with even registration numbers.
Rawal was quick to post an apology on Twitter for violating the rule. “Made a serious blunder by travelling in a odd number car to parliament ... Sorry to Arvind ji n Delhiite...,” Rawal tweeted. He paid the fine and posted the copy on challan on the social networking site.
Ashwini Kumar insisted that he was exempted since he has a Z+ security cover. Udit Raj said that he had an even number car only. “I have parliamentary works as also those related to my constituency. Tell me how I will perform my duties if I don’t use the car,” he said.
There were few takers for the battery-operated buses that were flagged of by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year in December. Carpools too were few and far between, with most MPs recounting logistical problems in accessing these alternatives.
B JP MP sAnil Mad h av Dave and Arjun Ram Meghwal were, however, seen riding a cycle to Parliament.
The Delhi government had on Sunday announced six air-conditioned special buses to ferry MPs and appealed to them to follow the odd-even scheme. The ‘MP Special’ buses ply from 9am to 11am and 5.30pm to 8pm.
In the morning, BJP MPs Ranjan Bhatt and Hari Om Singh Rathore availed the ‘MP Special Bus Service’ to reach Parliament.
But, MPs trashed the scheme; introduced by the AAP government to curtail pollution in the city by pointing out there has been no visible change in the air quality. They dubbed the scheme as a stumbling block that is keeping the lawmakers, most of whom congregate in the Capital during the Parliament session, from arriving at work.
Samajwadi Party’s Naresh Agrawal raised the matter in the Rajya Sabha, asking for exemption. He said the rule amounted to insult of MPs and wondered why the centre was silent. He made light of the move, saying 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.” It received wide support.
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress deputy leader Anand Sharma backed the views saying the scheme was coming in the way of discharging their duties. Congress member Rajiv Shukla said MPs should be “exempted” from the scheme. JDU’s KC Tyagi also supported the demand.
Taking the sentiments of members into account, deputy chairman PJ Kurien said he thinks this matter needed to be taken up and asked Naqvi to take it up immediately.
Rajesh Ranjan alilas Pappu Yadav raised the matter in Lok Sabha called Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal “a psychopath” and alleged that he introduced the scheme to gain “cheap publicity”.
Delhi transport minister Gopal Rai’s statement that the scheme was an opportunity for MPs to lead by example found no resonance in Parliament where had arrived of offer help on his government’s behalf.