Beginning his “satyagraha’ against the Delhi government on Tuesday, AAP MLA from Timarpur Pankaj Pushkar hit out at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for his “neglect and substandard treatment of Sangam Vihar” — an unauthorised colony in his home constituency. However, the party leadership not only refused to engage with him but also chose to ignore him.
“I am asking for specific civic issues to be resolved in Sangam Vihar. Before the elections, the CM had conveyed to the electorate that he would address these issues. But he has completely turned a blind eye. Today, I have written my third letter to him. I had raised the same issue in the Assembly twice, and the third time I was denied an opportunity to speak. Instead of devoting sessions on the problems of the Delhi Police and the Anti-Corruption Branch, and being confrontational, we as a party should be discussing specific problems facing the people… issues that affect their daily lives,” said Pushkar.
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In a no-holds-barred attack on Kejriwal, Pushkar said, “…Let me clarify that I am protesting not because I am close to anyone. I am going only by my concerns. I am full of love and affection for Arvind, but he has developed an aura around himself and loves people who only appreciate him and ask cozy questions. He has been avoiding even a handshake with me because he feels I will pose some uncomfortable and tough questions.”
Pushkar gave the Kejriwal government a deadline of four days and said a delegation would go to the CM’s residence on Sunday to discuss the issue with him. “If he gives us an assurance, we will call off the agitation or else we will continue our protest.”
On Tuesday, Pushkar once again wrote to Kejriwal asking for a proper drainage system, clean sewerage and other basic civic amenities for Sangam Vihar.
He maintained that he would continue to raise issues not only from his own constituency, but also larger subjects relating to children, women, slum-dwellers.
Reacting to Pushkar’s protest, sources in the AAP said that it was a conscious attempt by Pushkar to draw disciplinary action against him so that he could champion the Swaraj Abhiyan’s cause in the Assembly. Pushkar has been an active member of the Swaraj Abhiyan, formed by expelled AAP members Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan.
On Monday, the Swaraj Abhiyan had released a statement announcing Pushkar’s agitation, but the MLA maintained this was because he did not have “paraphernalia” to spread the word and had to depend on his ‘friends’ in the outfit.
Sources in the party said expelling Pushkar from the party would mean that he would continue as an independent, giving him more voice and prominence in the state Assembly.
The party is likely to ‘ignore’ him till he decides to part ways with the AAP on his own.
Though senior party leaders refused to admit that the chinks within the ranks were beginning to show, a key functionary said that “elements” like Pushkar did not merit “attention” and have been disgruntled ever since the expulsion of Yadav, who had introduced them to the party.