Delhi CM Mr. Kejriwal beats hasty retreat as angry auto-drivers shout slogans
New Delhi – Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today confronted an unhappy and vital constituency, auto drivers, who shouted angrily at a gathering that their needs are being ignored by his government.
As the slogans got louder, Mr Kejriwal walked off the stage, without stopping to interact with them has he had planned to.
Before the commotion, he urged auto drivers not to overcharge customers, or refuse journeys which they deem unprofitable.
Auto drivers’ unions have a range of demands that includes less stringent verification, less challans or prosecution, more parking stands and newer vehicles. They also want the state transport department, not the Delhi Traffic Police, to handle their prosecution.
Delhi’s auto drivers are seen as an elemental component of his party’s outsized performance in the recent election in Delhi. So his address to them was both emotional and characteristically aggressive. He classified criticism of him in the media as a paid campaign. “Why is Arvind wearing a new sweater? Why does he have new slippers? What about his big bungalow? They want to defame me. The people will teach them a lesson,” he said.
Mr Kejriwal said that those who denounce his actions as unconstitutional are ill-informed and missing the point. “Friends tell me, in the last one month, have the cops stopped asking for bribes or not?” he asked.
The 45-year-old staged a controversial demonstration last month in the heart of the city, ignoring police orders to vacate the high-security zone. His sit-in targeted the Delhi Police for alleged negligence. Critics and other parties faulted him for the protest, saying that the highest elected official in the state cannot resort to this sort of protest. “Where in the Constitution is this written – that the chief minister cannot sit on a dharna?” Mr Kejriwal has asked since then.