Amid the ongoing strike by East corporation sanitation workers, senior AAP leaders hit the streets and began a cleanliness drive on Saturday morning while attacking the BJP for the financial crisis faced by the municipal corporations.
In Patparganj, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was joined by AAP supporters and residents wielding brooms and wearing masks as he cleaned garbage along a dump in Khichripur.
“The BJP should accept that they cannot run the corporations. Else salaries of these employees would not have been pending and we wouldn’t have had to provide funds. We can run the civic bodies and even pay salaries. But what is the BJP doing?” Sisodia said.
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At the drive in Krishna Nagar launched by senior party leader Ashish Khetan — formerly considered a BJP bastion — high drama was seen when a group of people heckled AAP workers ahead of Khetan’s arrival.
According to an AAP volunteer from Krishna Nagar, the group chanted, “Kejriwal hai, hai” and tried to stop them from cleaning garbage in Baldev Nagar. The group alleged that the event was only intended to draw media attention.
“Around four-five people from the BJP got into a heated argument with our volunteers. This happened around 8.30 am when the drive was about to be launched. Some of our volunteers and residents also hit back, pointing out that the corporations were headed by the BJP and it was their responsibility to ensure that the city is clean,” the volunteer said.
Meanwhile, other senior leaders raised concerns about how the corporations have been reeling under a severe financial crunch. In Chandni Chowk area, senior leader and party spokesperson Ashutosh said residents should be aware of the reason behind the crisis.
“People should know why the corporations are on the brink of bankruptcy. It is considered to be one of the most corrupt organisations. Several times, courts have said that corruption should be removed from the MCDs, but nothing has happened so far.”
While the Delhi government has released some funds for the workers’ salaries, Ashutosh pointed to the pitfalls of such measures.
“You approach the government time and again. Even the government has certain limitations. It can only give a certain amount of money. But the BJP is not ready to understand this. They are only concerned with indulging in politics on the issue. Those in the BJP who have made the MCDs bankrupt, who have turned it into a corrupt organisation, they should be made answerable,” he said.
The AAP had earlier attacked the Centre, particularly its much lauded Swachh Bharat campaign, for its double-standards on the issue of cleanliness.