Determined to end BJP’s 14-year reign in Delhi’s municipal corporations, the Aam Aadmi Party has sharpened its attacks on bodies over the existing civic problems of the city.
Durgesh Pathak, AAP’s MCD election in-charge, is spearheading the campaign. Pathak told Siddhanta Mishra that no work cane be done in the MCDs without greasing palms of officials. Excerpts:
Delhi government has blamed the North civic body for the salary crisis at Hindu Rao hospital where health workers are on strike. In turn, BJP Mayor Jai Prakash has accused the government of doing politics on the issue. What do you have to say?
The BJP-ruled MCDs are the most corrupt that the city has ever seen. They resort to blatant lies whenever questioned about the financial mess that they have put the MCDs into due to years of mismanagement.
Delhi government had to step in and shift the patients to other hospitals because there was no other option left at Hindi Rao. This situation has arisen because BJP is running away from its responsibilities.
These employees do not have money for their livelihood and their children’s education. Despite knowing everything, the BJP-ruled MCD has been silent and has not taken any responsibility.
Mayor Jai Prakash is saying the AAP government has deliberately stopped funds worth more than Rs 900 crore?
Delhi government has not stopped any funds of the MCD. On the other hand, the MCDs are liable to pay the government their dues with respect to Delhi Jal Board. This is not the first protest over the non-payment of salaries.
BJP is unable to run the municipals corporations efficiently. If they can’t run the hospitals and pay salaries to their staff, they should hand over the hospitals to the government. I do not think they are short on funds. They impose heavy taxes on people and collect hefty money but nobody knows where all that money goes.
You have said that MCDs have not been able to find a solution to garbage problems in the city but BJP says that they have reduced the height of garbage mounds?
Since 2002, BJP has been saying they will find a solution to the garbage issue but has been unable to do so. Because of the BJP rule in the MCDs for the last many years, Delhi is one of the dirtiest cities in the country.
Your party has also attacked the MCD for opposing the proposal of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal of doing away with on health trade license for restaurants. BJP says it is necessary to ensure safety. How do you respond to that charge?
It was a central government agency, FSSAI, that wrote a letter to all the MCDs saying there was no need to issue separate certificates by the local bodies, as they (FSSAI) check the standards of food and safety in all restaurants and hotels.
The separate license system is not helping anyone but is a way of corruption. There is no work in Delhi, related to MCDs, that can be without giving a bribe. I challenge someone to complete any civic work in which any MCD is involved without giving a bribe. If I am proved wrong, I will leave politics.
What will be your agenda for MCD elections in 2022?
In the last 14 years, if there is any problem faced by Delhi people then it was because of the MCDs. The municipal elections will be fought on BJP’s ‘Kushasan’ (misrule) for so many years in Delhi.