When the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held his first ever public interaction, TalkToAK, on July 17th, there were mixed reactions from people. While for some, it was a testimony to transparent governance, for some it was a deviation from focusing on governance. For others, it was merely a publicity gimmick. When there are diverse people, there will be diverse views. What do you think of the first edition of TalkToAK?
In case you are wondering what it was all about, here are some quick highlights of the interaction.
Here’s what the Chief Minister had to say about issues raised by the callers-
- About the unfulfilled promise of free WiFi
“Rajendraji (CM’s Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar, who was arrested on charges of corruption) was looking after it. I have to appoint a new officer now.The project would take two to three years. In the meantime, we will create a network of hotspots. By December-January it will be operational in east Delhi. If it isn’t rendered null and void by the Lieutenant Governor!”
- About the state of Education
“Due to lack of good conditions, the teaching community was ‘depressed’. We fixed accountability of teachers and other staff in Delhi and we sent them to foreign universities for training. Action was also taken against some. We will implement the same in Punjab, Goa, Gujarat, etc.”
- About the tiff with the Centre
“We have done a lot of work and there is no doubt about it but there are a lot of problems that we face. There are a number of bills passed by Delhi Assembly but Central Government is not giving a nod to them.”
“There is a shortage of officers in Delhi but our officers are being transferred to other places. It is causing a delay in work.”
- About playing the ‘victim card’
“We are not playing ‘victim card’ but Delhi’s people have become victims because of policies of central government.”
- About the ‘Office of Profit’ controversy
“We have distributed work to different MLAs but we don’t pay them anything, nor is any facility provided to them. The post of Parliamentary secretary was necessary to give them authority. We have talked to lawyers and they are saying that it is not ‘office of profit’.”
- About extravagant spending on advertisements
“We have only spent 75 crores on advertising and not 526 crores as claimed by many.”
- About increasing the salaries of MLAs
When our government came to power, one MLAs salary was Rs 12,000 and we have increased it to Rs 50,000. It is being done so that the ministers earn enough to run their family and not indulge any corrupt activity to get extra money
- About a referendum regarding Delhi’s statehood
“We cannot hold a referendum as per constitution but we will try and organise an opinion poll in Delhi.”
The interaction ended with a promise from the CM that another TalkToAK shall be conducted in a month or two. Tell us what you think of this initiative by the Delhi Chief Minister.