For Shiv Kumar, a 40-year-old safai karamchari in the East Delhi Municipal Corporation, voting in the MCD bypoll was more about promises not kept by AAP and the BJP. Speaking to The Indian Express from his two-room flat in east Delhi’s Jhilmil, Kumar is upfront about the problems he has faced — delay in salaries and no bonuses.
“It is May 15 and my salary has still not been credited, despite the high court’s direction to the Delhi government to disburse our salaries by the 7th of every month,” he said. Kumar added that elders in his family, also safai karamcharis, never faced such problems. The issue dates back to February 2015 when as many as 12,000 EDMC sanitation workers refused to work unless their salaries were paid. “It was after the court’s intervention that the issue was temporarily resolved,” he said.
Kumar added, “I went to cast my vote, but I am looking for a change this time. Both BJP and AAP played politics over our problems. Under the current government, I have stopped getting bonuses.”
Two blocks away, another sanitation worker, Ramei (45) said they were last paid on April 28 (for March). “Cleanliness is a service to the nation too. Will an Indian Army officer fight for the nation if they don’t give him his dues?” he said.
BJP state president Satish Upadhyay said for 15 years the Congress and the BJP had worked together without any problem. “Why is AAP having a problem now? Funds from the Centre have to be disbursed via the state government. We made that clear in our meeting with the sanitation workers’ union. Everybody knows where the problem lies,” he said.