Chief Minister Arvind Kerjriwal promises better arrangement for next ‘janta durbar’
Chief Minister Arvind Kerjriwal on Saturday rejected criticism of his ‘janta durbar’ and said though the exercise had turned chaotic due to “mismanagement”, they have learnt their lesson and the next public hearing will be at a bigger venue with better arrangements.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, the Delhi Chief Minister, who had to leave the venue of the public hearing midway as hundreds jostled with each other to register their grievances, said that he had not expected the massive turnout which reflected the “faith” of the people in his government.
Mr. Kejriwal said he had left the venue to avoid a stampede-like situation. He said that there was mismanagement and he has apologised to the people and collected complaint letters from them while adding that he will soon devise a mechanism to resolve the situation.
“If listening to people’s grievance this way is anarchy, then I think we have forgotten the meaning of democracy. We have become used to decisions being taken behind closed doors,” he said on allegation by the opposition parties that anarchy prevailed at the venue on Saturday.
“I agree that there were loopholes in the crowd management. I have apologised to the public for the same,” he said.
He said that the public hearing, which was to be held by each of the six ministers on week days and by the entire Cabinet on Saturday outside the Delhi Secretariat building, has been suspended for the next three-four days. “Next time, we will hold next public hearing at a stadium or a bigger place and only after putting all the proper arrangements in place,” Mr. Kejriwal told reporters.
“We had made arrangement for just 700 to 1000 people, but more than 7,000 people came. We were not expecting such a huge crowd.
“We want to go to public to listen to their problems. Our government wants to work for the people. When we sat on the road today, we came to know how many people want to meet us,” Mr. Kejriwal said.
Responding to a query on BJP accusing him of taking decisions in a hurry, Kejriwal said, “Yes we are in hurry. If people do not take steps at the earliest, then this country will not survive.”
Mr. Kejriwal said he has received three-four “good suggestions” and would review them with senior officials before implementing them for better crowd management.
When pointed out that there were never reports of mismanagement at such hearings by Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav or Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Mr. Kejriwal said, “It is the question of faith. Not as many people turn up in those meeting. Those people who turned up today had faith that there problems will be resolved.”
Mr. Kejriwal said his government is taking stock of complaints and will try to resolve them accordingly.
“We have divided grievances into five categories. We will try to resolve plain complaints related to ration cards and government schemes not reaching to people within 7-10 days.
Those cases which require a change in a policy cannot be resolved in a day or two and a time limit will be set for them.”
The next category is not complaints, but suggestions.
Another is miscellaneous category and the last is for those which are not related to the government, he added.
Mr. Kejriwal said that 90 per cent of the crowd at today’s hearing comprised contractual workers. “I am writing to every department asking them why contractual workers could not be made permanent,” Mr. Kejriwal said.