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Now, AAP to face poster barbs from auto-rickshaw drivers

Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 23, 2013
First Published: 01:24 IST(23/11/2013) | Last Updated: 01:28 IST(23/11/2013)

Many of the city’s auto-rickshaws that have been sporting pro-AAP posters may convey a contrarian viewpoint from Monday.

Rebel Aam Aadmi Party member Rakesh Agarwal, who claims to enjoy the support of several auto-rickshaw driver unions, said: “Drivers supporting my NGO will paste posters on their vehicles asking AAP to come clean on how it will keep tall promises.”

As per rough estimates, about two lakh posters have been used on 40,000-odd auto-rickshaws so far. Agarwal claims the campaigning began on a large scale in March with help from his NGO.

“About 3,000 posters will be pasted every day. The promises of reduced electricity prices, free water and Lokpal are issues these posters will raise. Nothing personal against party leader Arvind Kejriwal or any other leader, including the recent sting operations, will be mentioned,” he said.

The first posters will speak about “how AAP has let down auto-rickshaw drivers with none getting a poll ticket (even one ticket to a driver was cancelled) and several issues regarding their welfare remaining ignored”. “Our posters will say it’s time not to support any party because all want to exploit drivers,” said Agarwal.

However, the party rubbished Agarwal’s claim. “Auto unions are fragmented in Delhi. Agarwal has no support. It was evident when he held a news conference on November 12 against us. Most of the 75,000-odd drivers support us. After the model code of conduct came into force on October 4 alone, we pasted 14,000 posters,” said AAP’s Amar Nath Rai. 

“My NGO has worked with drivers for years and was responsible for bringing them close to the party in the first place through a series of events, including a rally, a fast and my own arrest for holding a peaceful demonstration,” said Agarwal.

“AAP has promised to reduce power bills by half. It is impossible to bring it down even by 10%. The voters get duped. Both as a responsible citizen and a member of the party, I cannot let this happen. Let the party come clean on this and many other promises,” said Agarwal.

“In 2012-13 alone, we helped nearly 500 drivers purchase auto-rickshaws with bank loans, saving them from black-market premium and exploitation of the auto-finance mafia,” he said.

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