BJP government faces its first power play

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 10, 2014 Published on June 10, 2014


HAROON YUSUF Congress leader

Congress, AAP take to the streets over the electricity crisis in the Capital

The Union Government is faced with its first real challenge with the Opposition channelling public outrage over Delhi’s power crisis in the sweltering heat to mount its first effective political agitation since the election results came out.

The Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee and the AAP have been busy organising street protests against what they call the Central Government’s “absolute failure” in handling the acute power crisis in the capital.

AAP leader and former Minister Manish Sisodia led a group of his party’s legislators to protest outside BJP leader and Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan’s residence this morning.

“The BJP is in power at the Centre and Harsh Vardhan is a Union Minister as well as the Delhi BJP President. It is the responsibility of the ruling party at the Centre to address the problem of power supply in Delhi,” Sisodia said.

The Congress’s local unit has been surprisingly quick on its feet. Led by the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party Haroon Yusuf and Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president

Blame it on the past

The Arvinder Singh Lovely, the Congress held Delhi Chief Secretary SK Srivastava hostage for about half-an-hour at the Secretariat over the power and water crisis in the city. Srivastava was allowed to go after he gave a written assurance to improve the situation.

Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s criticism of the Shiela Dikshit government only provided more ammunition to the Congress that promptly cited endorsements of the previous State government, especially with regard to improving power distribution in the city.

“For the BJP that misguided people with promises of better days ahead, the Power Minister can surely do better than blaming the Congress.

“He should check his facts and our record before he attacks us. The fact is that the Congress government in the last 12 years transformed Delhi, its infrastructure and provided relief from power cuts that had become routine,” said Yusuf, a former Power Minister.

He drew attention to the Supreme Court’s appreciation of the Delhi government on November 23, 2012 while disposing of a 13-year-old public interest litigation on Delhi’s power situation.

“In Delhi, the situation is a thousand times better now. It is indeed a lot better than the time when we had taken up this matter. The government deserves some appreciation,” said a division bench headed by Justice DK Jain.

People’s perception

The BSES, which holds two of the three successor entities of the erstwhile Delhi Vidyut Board after privatisation of power distribution in the city, lists a survey that documents the change in people’s perception with regard to electricity supply. “Power is no longer an issue for Delhiites,” claims the BSES, citing a survey that showed that in 2002 people in Delhi listed power as the most critical area of concern while by 2012, it just was not an issue.

Tackling the crisis

“People in Delhi had forgotten what power cuts meant. The new government claims the demand has shot up. They should look at the increase in demand between 2001, when it was 2,831 MW to 2013, when it touched 5,653 MW. Did we blame the BJP for the increase?

“The Power Minister is now talking about irrelevant issues like how many secretaries were transferred in the last 12 years. What people want to know is, how are they going to tackle the present crisis? The Congress is not in power, the BJP is in power and they are answerable,” Yusuf told Business Line.

Published on June 10, 2014

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