As a fire raged through Chandni Chowk’s Moti Bazar on Monday night, the area’s MLA Alka Lamba was seen atop a hydraulic crane of the Delhi Fire Services. Her actions led to outrage on social media, and prompted Delhi BJP member Nupur Sharma to filed a police complaint against her. Sharma has alleged that Lamba hindered firefighters from dousing the fire effectively.
“Such irresponsible, self-aggrandising and callous behaviour of legislator Alka Lamba most definitely calls for a serious investigation into the possible delay and avoidable loss to property and life (if any) she caused by her presence and stunt-like acts,” stated the complaint. “We have received the complaint and are investigating the matter. No FIR has been registered so far,” Delhi Police spokesperson Madhur Verma said. But Lamba and her party hit out against the allegations.
“Lamba climbed on to the fire engine platform to address and manage the crowd after the fire was put out around 2 am,” AAP spokesperson Atishi Marlena said. The party also claimed Lamba had agreed to help after being approached by a fire official. In a tweet, Lamba shared a photo of her sitting with police and fire officials, and wrote: “This photo was taken after the officials and I appealed to people not to panic and told them that everything was okay.”
When contacted, Delhi fire chief G C Misra said, “I cannot comment and I even don’t know whether she was asked to climb the hydraulic platform, but her presence did not affect our operation.” He said the hydraulic platform was not at the spot and was parked several metres away. “We did not need the hydraulic platform during the operation. It was sent to the spot as a precautionary measure,” said Mishra.
Delhi Hindustani Mercantile Association president Atul Singhania defended Lamba, saying, “Can one MLA stop 32 fire tenders from doing their job? Lamba was there till 2.30 am. I don’t know why she got on to the crane but when she did, some people started shouting anti-AAP slogans. She was helpful, just like the area councillor from BJP. There is no need to politicise the issue. There are traders who have lost crores in the fire, that is something we should focus on.”