New Delhi: ‘Garbage’ politics took centrestage in the national capital Thursday as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal reached the Ghazipur landfill site and targeted the BJP-run Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) for its failure to clear the trash mountain.
The BJP in turn hit back with the Delhi government’s failure to clean up the Yamuna river and said that it will highlight sewage issues. This comes ahead of the likely announcement of MCD elections in Delhi in coming days.
On Thursday, Kejriwal went on a surprise visit to the Ghazipur landfill in East Delhi, where he launched a scathing attack on the BJP by blaming the MCD for not clearing up the “garbage mountain”.
“In the last 15 years, the BJP has littered entire Delhi. Today I have come to see their Ghazipur garbage mountain. My appeal to all Delhiites is to vote for the cleanliness of Delhi in the municipal elections this time. Together we have to make Delhi clean and beautiful,” the CM tweeted.
At the landfill site, he faced some protests by BJP workers who waved black flags and raised slogans.
“Jadoogar hoon main jadoogar, dil jeetna jaanta hoon (I am a magician, I know how to win hearts),“ the Delhi CM proclaimed while addressing the crowd at Ghazipur.
“This time, the elections will be fought on the basis of Delhi’s cleanliness,” he announced, indicating that sanitation and cleanliness will be a key issue for the civic body polls.
Referring to himself as the “Shravan Kumar (a character in the Hindu epic Ramayana)” who took senior citizens on “pilgrimage”, Kejriwal asked the gathering whether they would bear political attacks and abuses against their “son”.
Will highlight PWD sewage, says BJP
BJP MP Gautam Gambhir termed Kejriwal a “liar” and claimed the Delhi CM’s entire focus is elections and never the plight of the people.
Gambhir said he had personally visited the Ghazipur landfill site eight times since he became an MP. “The height of the landfill has been reduced by several feet as recognised by many agencies. We had invited the Delhi CM to join hands to get rid of this garbage mountain several times, but he never bothered. Now that elections are round the corner, his basic instincts are again at play.”
Other Delhi BJP leaders questioned Kejriwal’s claims to have tackled pollution in the Yamuna, and alleged they were a bid to reach out to Poorvanchali voters residing in Delhi. This comes three days ahead of Chhath Puja, when devotees wade into the river to offer prayers.
There has been no such ban announcement for this year.
North East Delhi MP Manoj Tiwari claimed Thursday that the Delhi government has been spraying “toxic” ammonium phosphate at Yamuna’s Kalindi Kunj ghat to clear the river of froth.
He further alleged that BJP workers saw a group of people spraying the chemical, and when approached, they proceeded to run away leaving behind their equipment.
Police have registered an FIR by seizing 50,000 litres of chemicals, Tiwari also claimed, adding that he believed the group was sent at the behest of the Delhi government.
He also said that BJP will highlight the dirty sewage managed by the PWD. PWD comes under the Delhi government.
“He did not go to a site which is polluted, he went to a place which is a natural landfill site,” Tiwari said.
BJP Delhi chief Adesh Gupta, who examined the Chhath ghats at ITO, claimed that even after allocation of Rs 2,500 crore from the Union government, the Delhi government gave up on getting the Yamuna cleaned and the ghats are still dirty.
MCD vs Delhi Govt
The face-off between BJP and AAP has often played out in Delhi in the form of the conflicts between the Delhi government and the MCD.
While the AAP blames the BJP-run MCD for garbage heaps in the city, the BJP argues that the AAP-led Delhi government has been continuously “lying” and has not given the due funds to the municipalities.
The AAP had in August accused the MCD of corruption claiming that Rs 6,760 crore had gone missing from the parking and conversion fee escrow account.
Likely to happen this year, it is the first time the MCD elections will be held after the merger of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, North Delhi Municipal Corporation and East Delhi Municipal Corporation into a unified MCD. After delimitation, the total number of wards in the capital has been reduced from 272 to 250.
(Edited by Theres Sudeep)