Stink rises as garbage triggers war of words among politicians

New Delhi, June 13 (IANS) The stink is getting stronger, by the day. For, politics in the national capital is now literally down in the dumps – garbage dumps.

The latest war of words between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) comes in the wake of a very public tussle between Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government and Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung over the posting and transfer of senior bureaucrats in the national capital.

Thankfully, the political fireworks over the powers of the state government and Jung went silent – at least for a while – after the matter reached the court.

However, the bad blood created by the political spat between the two sides was sure to come to the fore sooner or later. And come it did.

The strike by over 10,000 sanitation workers posted in East and North municipal corporation over non-payment of salaries for the past two months due to “funds crunch” provided another opportunity to politicians to add to the bad blood in the corridors of power in the national capital.

Though the sanitation workers had struck work for the last 10 days or so, authorities reportedly hardly seemed to care for the inconvenience caused to the general public.

It required the media – and of course a directive from the Delhi High Court – for the authorities to act. And fast.

As the electronic media continued to broadcast footage of garbage pile-ups in Patparganj, Mahur Vihar and other areas of East and North municipal corporations, Delhi Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung on June 12 ordered the release of Rs.493 crore to the municipal corporations to “facilitate payment of salaries to sanitation workers”.

Earlier in the day, the Delhi High Court directed the city government to release the due salaries of East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) employees by June 15. It also asked for a response by June 19 on the plea seeking directions for payment of salaries to the employees and removal of garbage from roads.

Amid fast-paced developments, the cacophony generated by the usual blame game among the politicians reached a crescendo.

The BJP claimed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal “doesn’t know how to govern and is only interested in petty politics”.

Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay accused Kejriwal of keeping himself “busy fighting, ever since he took over as chief minister.

He went on to say that the central government had given AAP government the required money and asked him to “stop dragging Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi into it… stop playing petty politics”.

Not to be left behind in this battle to grab the maximum eyeballs and remain etched in the voting public’s mind, AAP too conveniently dumped the blame for the sanitation workers’s woes on the BJP and the Modi government.

AAP leader Dilip Pandey claimed funds meant for workers’ salaries were used for other purposes. Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh accused the BJP of trying to “convert Delhi into a garbage dump”.

The AAP even termed the civic bodies of Delhi as the “world’s most corrupt organisations”, demanding a probe into non-clearance of salaries.

An AAP leader even alleged that “Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung are punishing people of Delhi”.

The Congress, in turn, accused both the AAP and the BJP for the mess!

“I am here with with you… if you want me to sit with you (on dharna), I will sit for an hour, two hours or 10 hours… I have time for you,” Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said during his meeting with striking workers at Patparganj on Friday.

Where does all this blame game between the BJP, Congress and AAP lead to?

Nowhere! Except that politicians of all hues hog media limelight, act their part on television channels for a few seconds every day, make exagerrated claims on their abilities and capabilities while deriding political rivals and then fade away.

On the other hand, an exasperated public is left wondering if it voted all these worthies to power to fight like cats in full media and public glare. Or, whether they are indeed entitled to a semblance of governance and development, platitudes which these politicians mouth almost on a daily basis.

The biggest casualty of the oneupmanship currently on between the AAP government and Jung, allegedly backed by the Narendra Modi government and the Congress is good governance and public welfare.

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