New Delhi: The AAP government today kicked off its first “participatory budget” exercise amidst much fanfare and enthusiasm at a function attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in his deputy Manish Sisodia's Patparganj constituency.
As the ruling party sought to take the government closer to the people, the event also witnessed an odd officer being threatened with action over grievances aired by the locals.
Top Delhi government officials, including Chief Secretary KK Sharma, DM (East) Kunal and the AAP MLAs of the 11 constituencies that are being covered at the launch of the exercise were present at the meeting organised for the residents of West Vinod Nagar's E-block. Other senior AAP leaders, too, attended the meet, which was described by Kejriwal as the “Parliament of the public”.
“Villages have shown us the direction in this regard. They say, ‘Dilli, Mumbai mai humari sarkar, humari mohalle mai hum sarkar' (In Delhi and Mumbai our government, but in our area we are the government),” Kejriwal told the gathering.
“If the experiment is successful, then the way democracy is practised in the country will change. Delhi will lead the country.
“Democracy today has turned into a five-year exercise. After elections, leaders turn into gods and misuse public funds,” he said.
Pointing separately to the sitting areas reserved for VIPs and the media, he said, “We, the ministers, and the officials form the officers' gallery to follow your orders.” The residents, who were given sheets of white paper and pens by Civil Defence volunteers, were asked by Sisodia to pen down their suggestions and grievances “wisely” before handing them back to the volunteers.
“Decisions taken inside closed doors reek of fraud whereas events such as this, where decisions are being taken publicly, are credible... there are countries where even laws are made in this way,” said Sisodia, who conducted the exercise today.
“Delhi government every year has around Rs 40,000 crore but, after various expenses, around Rs 16,000 crore is left for allocation to different departmental plans.
“A portion of that money will be spent for the development of around 10-11 constituencies this time through this exercise. If successful, it will be replicated in all the 70 constituencies (of Delhi),” he said.