After his first janta durbar ended in fiasco, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday scrapped the plan that aimed at bringing people closer to the government.
Kejriwal said there would be no more janta durbars after officials and security agencies expressed their inability to ensure security at such gatherings.
After an unexpectedly huge crowd turned up at the first janta durbar on Saturday, Kejriwal had said that a new schedule for such gatherings would be announced on Wednesday. On Monday, however, he said there would be no more janta durbars henceforth.
“We had an elaborate meeting in the morning over the issue. We are going to tend to public grievances through technology. They can send in their complaints online. For those who cannot write their complaints, we will set up a call centre…,” he said.
The CM said the Chief Secretary was working on a system of video-conferencing. “With this system, I can monitor and address problems sitting in my office. Allpublic dealing offices in Delhi will be part of this network,” Kejriwal said.
However, Kejriwal admitted that despite using technology, citizens would still want to meet him. “Every Saturday, I will go to different places to meet people but with better arrangements,” he said. He also added that he would be available only once or twice a week to people coming just to meet him.
Reacting to the AAP government scrapping janta durbars, Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Harsh Vardhan said, “I have been holding janta durbar everyday for the past 20 years. It does not mean you climb a rooftop or hold it on the road. It means public interface with their representatives. There are poor people who cannot go online to register their complaints. Moreover, people may not be able to put their complaints well across an helpline. If a telephone can sort out all problems, let the government put up telephones everywhere and go on leave.”
The Congress, which supports the AAP government from outside, too took pot shots at Kejriwal. Former MLA Mukesh Sharma said, “This is a call centre and helpline government. Most decisions they have taken have only harmed the interests of ordinary people.”
He said the janta durbar was held only to gain free publicity and ultimately “made fun of the people of Delhi”.
Earlier, Kejriwal had responded to other political parties’ claims of presiding over janta durbars by saying “they did not get such a response because people have lost faith in them. Here, they have faith that they will get a chance”.
On Saturday, the first of Kejriwal’s planned janta durbars collapsed an hour after it started, after a crowd of over 20,000 people threatened to physically swamp the chief minister and his cabinet colleagues, and the meeting teetered on the edge of disintegrating into complete chaos.