Business Today
Trash talk in the city of the Broom
As garbage is thrown on the roads of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal's AAP may well take some lessons from history.
Chitra Narayanan, deputy editor, Business Today

Chitra Narayanan, deputy editor, Business Today

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Chitra Narayanan, deputy editor, Business Today


It's been a week of trash talk  - be it the "K" word from Delhi's esteemed chief minister, the rubbish spilling on the city's streets, or the way the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP's) broom was wielded to dump certain members of its party!

When Delhi voted in the jhadoo of AAP, we expected a clean, corruption free regime. But here's the irony - within a month of AAP's rule, Delhi has got dirtier and dirtier. Sweepers in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD)'s north and east divisions have not been paid and, in retaliation, threw garbage on the streets. As if that rubbish was not enough, a lot of dirty linen was washed in public as AAP split into two groups rather publicly.

Mr Kejriwal chose to distance himself from the garbage on the streets of East Delhi, saying that it is the BJP-governed MCD's responsibility. That may be true, but the unpaid employees of the corporation, hundreds of teachers, sweepers and other staff are citizens of Delhi and, hence, directly his responsibility. Shouldn't a ruler look after his subjects? If MCD is facing a revenue crisis, shouldn't the chief minister sit with the corporation brass and work out a recovery plan, and not wait for the stench to get unbearable.

The chief minister would do well to look at the history of garbage wars, because it may cost him dear.

In the medieval ages, in 1400 to be precise, waste piled sky high outside the gates of Paris interfered with the defence of the city during the Hundred Years War between the House of Plantagenet, rulers of England and the House of Valois, rulers of France. It had a bearing on the course of the war.  

The AAP with its 67-seat majority may think it is sitting pretty in Delhi, but if the stink from the garbage spreads further, it will have no defence to speak of against citizens inclined to revolt.

Today's voters are not the sort who will tolerate rubbish.  And far from sweeping out the ills in the system, Mr Kejriwal's party has chosen to park its brooms in a corner and brush all the dust under a carpet of lies.

When a crisis strikes, a strong leader would try and address that first, rather than get bogged down in peripheral matters. Rather than trying to find a solution to the MCD mess, or the hundreds of other urgent issues of Delhi that need fixing - road projects, healthcare interventions etc - the chief minister has got himself embroiled in party politics. If AAP cannot put its own house in order, how can it give us a clean, green Delhi?

The Broom is increasingly looking like a symbol of Doom.

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