Early on Wednesday morning, AAP minister Kapil Mishra sat down with a list of phone numbers of Members of Parliament in Delhi. After making six calls inviting MPs to join him in a fogging exercise, he sent out follow-up messages on Twitter and set out to meet the seventh MP.
Soon, Mishra landed at the doorstep of BJP MP from northeast Delhi, Manoj Tiwari, asking him if he would join the fogging exercise in the evening in Mishra’s constituency Karawal Nagar, which overlaps Tiwari’s parliamentary constituency.
Soon after the meeting, the two leaders thanked each other on Twitter, appreciated the spirit and geared up for an evening that no constituency in Delhi has ever seen. Clad in crisp white kurtas and denim pants, the two leaders arrived at Sonia Vihar sharp at 5.30 pm and set out on bicycles, with fogging machines tied on their carriers. Even as their audience wondered why an MP and an MLA had to physically carry out the job, Mishra and Tiwari seemed upbeat about their new experiment.
The bonhomie between the two leaders left their respective party volunteers even more confused as they looked on, unsure of who to cheer for.
“My request to all the MPs to join the fogging exercise and come together in this hour of need has been taken very well. Manoj Tiwari ji and I are from the same constituency, so we decided to do it together. When I met him this morning, he readily agreed to come along with me. We have been saying this repeatedly… right now, everyone should rise above politics and address the situation,” said Mishra.
“MPs Udit Raj, Parvesh Verma, Meenakshi Lekhi all have agreed to join the exercise. I could not speak to Ramesh Bidhuri while Harsh Vardhan and Vijender Gupta are abroad and Maheish Girri is unwell,” he added
Mishra said that AAP had bought 20 fogging machines last year and this year too, party volunteers have pooled in money to buy more such machines, which cost about Rs 8,000 each.
“I agree this is not the job of an MP or MLA, but the whole exercise is symbolic. I hope the message is conveyed to officials in the Delhi government and the municipal corporations… that if ministers and MPs can go out on the road, they should also do their job,” said Mishra.
Even as Tiwari appreciated Mishra’s efforts, he clarified, “I did not go because Mishra invited me. I visit my constituency frequently and would have gone there to check on the situation anyway. But I liked Mishra’s initiative and just yesterday, our Health Minister J P Nadda said that we should all get together to fight this crisis and not politicise the situation… I like the idea that our support was sought by AAP.”
He added, “The AAP government could have asked for our (BJP MPs’) help much earlier but they kept us out of governance… All said and done, this is a good start. It does not matter where the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister are right now… though it was their responsibility to fix the issue, we will manage.”