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In hot summer, politics over ‘bijli-paani’ simmers in Delhi

The BJP, which is the main opposition party in the Delhi assembly (but has only four legislators in the 70-member House) blamed the government for what it called a “water crisis”.

delhi Updated: Jun 13, 2019 07:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
delhi,arvind kejriwal,AAP
Delhi Congress president Sheila Dikshit meets Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal at his residence in New Delhi on Wednesday. (ANI photo)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress attempted to corner the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government over alleged water and electricity scarcity in the middle of Delhi’s hottest summer in decades, even as the ruling party dismissed the charges as an attempt to needlessly play politics over basic amenities in light of next year’s assembly elections.

While the BJP is planning to reach out to the people in Delhi to highlight the alleged failures of the AAP government in providing clean water and regular electricity supply, the Congress on Wednesday met chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and apprised him of water and electricity problems in some parts of the city.

The BJP, which is the main opposition party in the Delhi assembly (but has only four legislators in the 70-member House) blamed the government for what it called a “water crisis”.

Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said, “Free water and cheap electricity were the two main poll promises of the AAP during 2015 Assembly elections. The city is facing a water shortage and the government has no plan in place.” The BJP is now planning to reach out to people living in slum clusters and unauthorised colonies, which are AAP strongholds and played a crucial role in its victory in the 2015 elections.

“From June 14, we will go to slums and unauthorised colonies as these are the areas that are facing a lot of problems,” said BJP leader Vijay Goel.

The Congress, too, is making efforts to win back its key vote bank in slums and unauthorised colonies — which it lost to the AAP in 2015 — by raising the issue of electricity tariffs and water shortage. The Congress, which regained some lost ground and stood second on five out of the seven parliamentary seats in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls, is now hoping for bigger gains in the assembly elections.

“They’ve collected Rs 5,000 crore from public by increasing fixed charges. They’re also collecting pension trust surcharge from the people,” Delhi Congress working president Haroon Yusuf said.

The AAP hit back at both parties for politicising the water and electricity issues. The party’s national spokesperson Raghav Chadha said, “Both the BJP and the Congress were never serious about the water shortage problem in Delhi and they have only politicised the issue. It was only after the AAP came to power that the CM initiated a crackdown on unlawful private tanker services and water tanker mafias which were operating with the direct support of the BJP and the Congress over the last few decades.”

Households in BJP-ruled states such as Gujarat, Haryana and Maharashtra and states ruled by the Congress such as the Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka pay much higher electricity rate, he said.

“The AAP, under chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, made sure that people of Delhi receive uninterrupted power supply at the cheapest rates,” he added.

First Published: Jun 13, 2019 03:30 IST