Mr Arvind Kejriwal, just where are you? There’s a big commotion happening on the banks of the Yamuna. Environmentalists are up in arms against what they believe is a savage assault on the dying river. Massive preparations are on for the Art of Living’s World Culture Festival. Eye-popping structures have started dominating the skyline; on the ground the untidy floodplains have made way for well-laid out paths and other facilities for visitors who, according to an earlier promotion of the organisers, could number 35 lakh.
The event, according to ecology watchers, could result in the destruction of the floodplains, leading to severe groundwater crisis in Delhi. And God forbid, if there are torrential rains for a few days then the city will have a similar experience Chennai had last year and Srinagar more than couple of years ago. East Delhi, in particular, will face disaster. A panel of the National Green Tribunal also has raised the red flag over the matter already. Why are you silent? As the Chief Minister of Delhi, isn’t it your responsibility to take note of the development, and if possible action.
Nobody is arguing here that Sri Sri Ravishakar’s Art of Living is doing something wrong. It’s for the court to decide that. But as someone who has always been vocal on every issue, dragging the prime minister into every controversy, manufactured or real, your silence is intriguing to say the least. So far, we haven’t heard from you a word for or against the event while all this taking place under your nose. Why so?
The talk going around is that you are one of the speakers at the event. Is that the reason why, for a change, you have not started criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for this event yet? In December last, your government had drawn up plans to involve spiritual Gurus like Baba Ramdev and Sri Sri in the mission to clean up the Yamuna, which meets a huge part of the National Capital’s water needs. Is that why you have decided not to speak up? It makes no sense actually.
Your government has just said that it gave permission only for the pontoon bridges in case of flood and had no role to play in the approval to the event since it came under the jurisdiction of the Delhi Development Authority. But hadn’t your minister Kapil Mishra extended cooperation to the mega event earlier? You are either being tactfully silent or dismissive of the whole controversy. Either way, it does not speak too well of you. By evading taking a position you are proving that you have become indifferent to the residents of Delhi.
What troubles many is the fact silence has never been part of your politics so far. And in a situation where the city might suffer, you were required to be vocal. You could have allayed the fear of the citizens by convincing them that no permanent damage would be caused to the floodplain due to the event or you could have fought the organisers, like you do in all matters concerning your own party or government. You claim to be a leader of the common people, and their voice, how come you find nothing amiss?
If this is not hypocrisy then what is? Please explain to us.