To fast again

Print edition : April 05, 2013

Arvind Kejriwal, convener of the Aam Aadmi Party, at a news conference in New Delhi on March 4. Photo: THE HINDU

IT is a “do or die” battle for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as media interest in its brand of expose politics is on the wane. Now, in a desperate move to mobilise support, Arvind Kejriwal, convener of the AAP, has decided to go on an indefinite fast in Delhi from March 23, to protest against rising power and water bills in Delhi. The fast, according to him, is to embolden people against possible action so that they stop paying their power and water bills until the government scales down the amount. According to Kejriwal, power and water bills in the national capital, instead of being as high as they are, should have been half their amount but the companies, in cahoots with the government, arbitrarily charge higher rates.

“We want people to pay half their bill amount because the companies are charging them higher rates arbitrarily. But people are afraid of the government and that is why I am taking this step to convince them the AAP is with them and that it will prevent the government from taking action against them, ” Kejriwal said while announcing his fast.

“Gandhi went on a fast to convince people to stop killing each other. He was making no demands from any authority, government or otherwise. His fast was only to make people see reason and bring them back to their senses. A fast, hence, can also be undertaken to mobilise people for a particular cause, and, in this case, he is trying to mobilise people against the Delhi government’s arbitrary ways,” said Gopal Rai, a senior AAP functionary.

Kejriwal is diabetic and was advised against going on a fast in July last year. He had, nevertheless, gone an a 10-day fast along with others to demand action against a host of Ministers allegedly involved in what was then described as scams.

Notwithstanding the risk, Kejriwal is determined to go on the fast. “Democracy is all about people and we are only trying to jolt people out of their inertia,” said Gopal Rai. Kejriwal will go to people’s houses to stage the fast. Simultaneously, AAP supporters will be on fast at 250 venues across Delhi.

Purnima S. Tripathi

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