The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) plans to mobilise masses across the city even as its convener Arvind Kejriwal will stay put in Northeast Delhi’s Sundar Nagri area during his indefinite fast starting 23 March to protest the rise in water and power tariffs in the national capital.
During the fast, the party will attempt to decentralize activities all over the national capital unlike Kejriwal’s previous agitations when all the buzz was generated around the venue of the agitation.
Originally Kejriwal had announced that he would stay with various families in during his fast. All such families will not pay their water and electricity bills, he had said. The purpose was to mark his presence among voters in various assembly constituencies.
But now, he has decided to stay put at one point. “Since he is a diabetic, doctor advised him against traveling while fasting,” said one of Kejriwal’s aides.
The party has constituted more than 250 non-cooperation kendras, where its volunteers will ask citizens not to pay their water and power bills. Many government and private tariff collection points will also act as non-cooperation kendras. “Beside these centres, our volunteers will work from party’s ward offices and do door to door campaign,” said Aswathi Muralidharan, AAP member.
Those who agree not to pay the tariff for the two basic amenities will be asked to fill a form in support of the cause. The person will have to specify whether he or she will not submit the water and power bill once, twice or until the government reduces the tariff.
All the forms will be collected at a party office near the fast venue on a daily basis and will be submitted to the Chief Minister’s office once the agitation is over.
To position AAP as a significant contender in the Delhi assembly elections scheduled late this year, Kejriwal has been taking on the Sheila Dikshit government alleging that the latter is in collusion with private companies supplying water and electricity to the city.
His upcoming fast takes Kejriwal back to the location where he started social work in 2002, as an IRS officer on study leave.
His work as the founder of the initiative ‘Parivartan’ got him a Magasasay award in 2006. The organisation worked on improving the functioning of public welfare schemes including the Public Distribution System (PDS).
“Arvind is a known face there. The area has middle class population where we see AAP expanding in the days to come. And people there have been facing the issues we have raised,” said AAP member Yogendra Yadav, on the relevance of Sundar Nagri as the fast venue.