Two days after the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi resigned, former Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti held a mohalla sabha in his Malviya Nagar constituency.
As he listened to the residents’ complaints, he was even found explaining to them the party’s decision to quit. Around five officials of the MCD were also present at the sabha on Sunday, Bharti’s secretary Prabodh Gaur said.
The hour-long mohalla sabha touched on a range of local issues, from water supply, alcoholism, maintenance of parks to explanations on AAP’s resignation, the Khirki Extension incident and a crash course on the concept of mohalla sabhas.
Bharti told the gathering that the BJP and the Congress had made it impossible for the AAP to govern and the party had no other option but to resign. There were many measures that needed to be passed in the Law Department, but it could not happen because of this situation, he claimed.
Talking about the demand in the Delhi Assembly for his resignation, Bharti said if the uproar had persisted another day, he would have offered his resignation. He claimed that he had already drafted a part of his resignation letter.
After drawing flak for the ‘midnight raid’ to expose the alleged drug and prostitution racket in Khirki Extension in January, the Sunday meeting was one of Bharti’s first mohalla sabhas.
Rubbishing claims that his actions were racist, Bharti told the audience that the main accused in the case has been arrested.
While the constitution of mohalla sabhas in Delhi, through the passing of the Swaraj Bill, has been left in the lurch owing to the AAP’s resignation, Bharti used the occasion to apprise the residents of the idea of a mohalla sabha. The AAP volunteers drew up a list of complaints by local residents, which they would forward to the concerned authorities, Gaur said.
Some residents, however, did not seem to be convinced by Bharti’s explanation.
“They should not have resigned. Arvind Kejriwal should have proved his mettle by staying in the government. They should have struggled for sometime before resigning,” Anil Sareen, vice-president, B-6 Residents’ Welfare Association, Safdarjung Enclave, said.
Echoing Sareen, another resident of the area, B S Gupta, said, “At this stage, they have created doubts in my mind. I am no longer sure if I should still vote for them. Running away from responsibility never helps.”