The Delhi government has issued official vehicles — SUVs — to all the newly-elected ministers. A number of AAP ministers had so far been using public transport to commute.
On the first day of the new assembly, a number of AAP MLAs and ministers used the Delhi metro, hitched rides, and took auto rickshaws to reach the Vidhan Sabha. However, on Friday, things changed with most ministers arriving in their official cars, white Innovas.
A number of ministers, including Manish Sisodia, Rakhi Birla and Saurabh Bhardwaj, came to the Delhi Assembly complex in official cars. The Innovas were earlier used by previous ministers. Asked if coming by such cars was against the austerity measures announced, Kejriwal said the party never said its ministers would not use official cars. “We never said anything about not using cars. We had said we will not use cars with red beacons,” he said.
“We come to the Vidhan Sabha in our personal vehicles but use government vehicles for official work,” said Rakhi Birla, women and child development minister.
The acceptance of official cars by the ministers came a day after the AAP government won a trust-vote in the assembly.
A number of AAP ministers and MLAs had come to Delhi Assembly using public transport such as metro and auto-rickshaw in the last few days in tune with their ‘aam aadmi’ credentials.
Sisodia said the party was opposed to the VIP culture and there was nothing wrong in taking official cars. “We are opposed to the VIP culture of ministers and bureaucrats using red and blue beacons on their cars but not against using government cars. We are against taking big bungalows,” Sisodia said. He said his personal vehicle had broken down and hence he had no other option but to use the government vehicle.
Asked whether Kejriwal would also accept a government car, Sisodia refused to answer. So far, Kejriwal is the only one who has not opted for an official car and is using his personal vehicle.
“My car did not have fuel and I had given my ATM card to my wife. So I had to use the government car,” said Bhardwaj, minister for transport, food supplies and environment. He defended his cabinet colleague Birla accepting an official car, saying “she is a woman and as a minister she has to commute even during night time”.