Delhi,Aradhna Wal: The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi seems committed to proving that it is truly for the common man, as it rolled out it's pilot programme of public participation in deciding Delhi's budget. Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia held three sabhas in east Delhi, on Sunday. The programme kicked off in Patparganj, which is Sisodia's constituency. It is slated to cover 11 constituencies in the coming days.
Though some of the public's concerns sounded too localised, the point of the exercise seemed to be that the government's agenda is inclusive of everyone's concerns, just as Kejriwal had promised in his campaign speeches.
Many of the public's demands, too, were promises Kejriwal had already made. People wanted CCTVs to be installed, metallic roads to be laid in bylanes, dispensaries to be put up accessible to all. One of the top demands was, in fact, a public library.
Addressing the crowd in the first sabha, Kejriwal gave many assurances that all his promises would be fulfilled. He also said that if this pilot programme was successful in creating a budget, then it would be implemented in all constituencies from next year on. Calling this a parliament of the public, Kejriwal said that it had the power to transform the way democracy is practised. He also called out for the need of regular town hall meetings in Delhi's constituencies.
The attendees of Sunday's sabhas were asked to write down their suggestions and conduct a vote on what they needed the most. This, Sisodia said, adding to Kejriwal's rhetoric, was far more credible than closed-door meetings that "reek of fraud".
He asked the public to be patient with the government. He said that there are bound to be mistakes while implementing this programme for the first time, but they are learning. He also asked people to be specific about their complaints, such as which roads exactly they wanted to be repaired, so as to help the government in its work.
Keeping the public's faith in him he sternly hauled up the Delhi Jal Board engineers when people had complained about their work. Sisodia told the public that the Delhi government's budget every year was around Rs 40,000 crore. This time, post expenses, they had Rs16,000 crore to allocate to different departments, and portion of that money will be spent on the 11 constituencies under the programme.
Also present at the event were chief secretary KK Sharma, DM (East) Kunal and the AAP MLAs of the 11 constituencies and senior AAP leaders.