The BJP’s gag order on its leaders, which prohibits them from speaking out on fresh elections in Delhi, has an obstacle for an MLA who has been invited to participate in a programme on national television. In fact, going on TV is so important to the MLA that he refuses to acknowledge that he knows about the gag order. He is believed to have been complaining about the fact that while other leaders get to appear on national television, a gag order is imposed just at the time he gets his chance.
Reporters covering the AAP know how difficult it is to score an on-record interview with former Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The party usually directs mediapersons to senior leaders who hold the fort on the subject at hand. To speak to Kejriwal, an appointment has to be taken. So, it came as a surprise when Kejriwal was seen mingling with reporters freely and giving interviews on the day the Lieutenant-Governor released a note saying he would speak to all parties on government formation. When the news spread, journalists rushed to the AAP’s Kaushambi office to find Kejriwal sitting in the courtyard and giving interviews. Those within the party said it was part of a strategy to keep the pressure on the L-G to call for fresh elections.
Sharing the burden
Ahead of winter, the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board has decided to put up 39 temporary night shelters in addition to the existing 184. Former chief minister Sheila Dikshit, however, feels that the governments of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana too should contribute in setting up night shelters in their states as a large number of homeless people using shelters in Delhi are migrants from those states. Dikshit said during her tenure as the chief minister, she had discussed the matter with the then Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Thirty years and several rounds of investigation into the 1984 riots later, policemen who worked through the riots are still wary of media attention. They say the issue is a political hot potato. One serving officer said a retired officer who gave a press statement lost a chunk of his pension to “disciplinary action” for speaking out on the anti-Sikh riots. “I will lose my pension and benefits if I say anything. Everybody knows the senior officials were involved.”
While the Congress said they were prepared for elections, many in the party didn’t agree. After the Supreme Court hearing on government formation in Delhi, senior leaders renewed their demand for former chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s return to the party. Others alleged that Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely had sidelined certain leaders. “The party has nothing to give. We have eight seats and it might reduce. When the ship is sinking, those on board start fighting amongst themselves,” a senior leader said.
Ambassador of peace
When BJP MP from East Delhi, Maheish Girri, attended the Jagran in Block-20, Trilokpuri, on Friday, he was welcomed with loud cheers. During his speech, he claimed, “I have come here not to do rajneeti (politics), but spread the message of peace and talk about humanity. I am the messenger of aman and shanti. Politics is secondary for me. Humanity and peace come first.”
Following riots in Trilokpuri last week, residents were allowed to move out of their homes only when curfew was relaxed for a few hours. But when the Delhi government announced that vegetables and milk would be provided in the locality at subsidised rates during the time the curfew was relaxed, a group of police personnel were heard telling each other how they wished they were off duty so that they too could buy the items at lower prices. “Why don’t they give us such a provision? Duty hours should be relaxed so that we can buy these vegetables. They are so fresh and cheap,” a policeman was heard telling his colleague.
As the final arguments in a 27-year-old case began in a Delhi court, the public prosecutor pressing for conviction of the accused had to take breaks to arrange the documents in court. The reason: the documents were so old that he had to take his time to handle the papers. “These papers are so delicate and brittle that there is always a chance of them getting damaged. I’m sorry your honour that I’m taking time to get to the right page to present in court,” the prosecutor said.
Mayur Vihar police station had become a mini headquarters of sorts during the last week, with all senior officers including the Special Commissioner and the Joint Commissioner visiting the premises every day. But this has spelt trouble for the the lower constabulary. A junior staff at the police station was overheard saying: “It has been more than a week. I leave home early and I return late everyday. All day long, we are on our toes saluting officers every 10 minutes. I can’t take lunch or dinner breaks. Can’t even take calls from home.”