Sidestepping a protest by BJP workers, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal visited the Ghazipur landfill site on Thursday and asserted that the upcoming municipal polls will be fought on the issue of cleaning up the capital’s garbage crisis.
He accused the BJP of failing to clear the three garbage mountains in the last 15 years as it administered Delhi’s three municipal corporations, which have just been merged into one.
Mr Kejriwal promised to clean the capital in five years if the Aam Aadmi Party wins the municipal elections that are expected to take place at the end of 2022 or early next year.
Mr Kejriwal also attacked several BJP leaders, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Sambit Patra and Ramesh Bidhuri, during his address at the landfill site.
Trying to counter protesting BJP workers who called him a “liar”, the Chief Minister likened himself to a character from the Ramayana – Shravan Kumar – because of his scheme to fund pilgrimages for the elderly.
Ahead of Mr Kejriwal’s visit, drama ensued at the site and roads leading to the area, as scores of BJP supporters staged a protest, showed black flags and raised slogans against him. In turn, AAP workers also raised slogans against the BJP.
“Ghazipur garbage mound is the mountain of BJP’s bad deeds and corruption in civic bodies. This is time for vengeance,” the AAP chief told reporters.
With civic polls heading nearer, the BJP, AAP, and Congress have already started preparation for the polls.
“These people (BJP) have planned to erect 16 new garbage mountains in Delhi.The MCD poll will be fought solely on the issue of garbage. BJP leaders abuse your (people’s) son (Kejriwal), your Shravan Kumar who took you on pilgrimage. Will you tolerate this? Give them a reply in the upcoming MCD polls,” he said, addressing the gathering.
Delhi generates around 11,000 metric tons of garbage, a significant part of which is dumped in the three landfill sites — Ghazipur, Bhalswa and Okhla.
The Aam Aadmi Party has been cornering the BJP on a number of civic issues, including garbage crisis in the city, corruption in MCD, delayed projects, mismanagement in the municipality, non-payment of salaries to MCD employees among others.
About BJP workers protesting his arrival at the landfill site, he alleged that the saffron party doesn’t let anyone come here.
“They (BJP) don’t want anyone to come here. We are not ashamed of our work, come and visit our schools and hospitals. They deployed police personnel to protect this garbage mountain.
“All evil forces have conspired against us (AAP). They delayed MCD polls and segregated wards hoping that they will get seats. Let me tell them that this time even BJP supporters won’t vote for them,” Mr Kejriwal claimed.
In 2019, the height of the Ghazipur landfill was 65 metres which was only eight metres less than the height of Qutub Minar. In 2017, a portion of Ghazipur landfill had fallen on an adjacent road in which two people were killed.
According to civic officials, the deadline to flatten the Ghazipur landfill is December 2024 while efforts are on to raze the Bhalswa dumping site by July next year. The Okhla landfill is likely to be flattened by December 2023.
They said as many as 46 trommel machines have been pressed into the service to process the legacy waste and flatten these landfills.
Mr Kejriwal also alleged that the BJP “gobbled up Rs 2 lakh crore” during their 15-year rule in the erstwhile civic bodies.
“They claim that I did not give money to the MCD. In the last 15 years, they gobbled up Rs 2 lakh crore of which 1 lakh crore was given by the Delhi government,” Mr Kejriwal alleged.
Hitting out at Amit Shah, Mr Kejriwal said, “Earlier this month, Shah abused me and alleged that the Delhi government did not give money to MCD. But I want to ask him how much they have given to the civic bodies ever since BJP formed the government at the Centre.”
“All they do is abuse me. They are only concerned about money. We have to win hearts. I am a magician and I know how to win hearts. We will work through the happiness and sorrows of the people and will win their hearts. The Congress has been reduced to zero in Delhi and soon there a day will come when BJP will become zero too. In future all BJP supporters will come to join the AAP,” he said.