Garbage on Delhi's streets now comes with political art alongside it.
The Aam Aadmi Party, which runs the Delhi government but has tangled with the Centre over who actually calls the shots in the Capital, has begun a new campaign aimed at shifting blame for ongoing crises directly on the Bharatiya Janata Party. The parties fought a bitter battle over who was to blame for the spurt in mosquito-borne diseases like chikungunya and dengue, and now it seems like their next political football is trash. Literally.
All this week, members of AAP have asked party workers to spot filthy sites with unattended garbage and paste a specially designed sticker reading, “Iss gandagi ki safai BJP ki MCD ke zimme mein (Cleaning the garbage here is the responsibility of the BJP-run Municipal Corporation of Delhi).”
AAP and the Bharatiya Janata Party have butted heads ever since Arvind Kejriwal's party won 67 of the 70 seats in Delhi's Assembly, routing the BJP in the process. Since Delhi, which doesn't have full statehood, is technically administered by the Centre-appointed Lieutenant General, the AAP-run government has found it difficult to operate as it would like.
Over the past one month, the AAP-led government has traded charges with the LG insisting that the city's health crisis – including a huge number of chikungunya and dengue cases – are each other's fault. One of the major reasons given for the spurt in mosquito-borne disease is the city's weak garbage disposal system and unattended garbage sites ultimately acting as spots for mosquito breeding.
AAP has tried to insist that this is not its government's fault and should instead be laid at the feet of the BJP, which controls Delhi's municipal corporations. Hours after the campaign was launched on Friday, Facebook and Twitter were flooded with photographs of unattended garbage spots and the campaign sticker under the hashtag #SpotTheKachra.
The campaign actually comes a week after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called for cross-party unity to tackle the mosquito menace in Delhi and starting a fogging drive. That unity doesn't seem to extend to garbage, it seems.
“AAP has started a campaign called #SpotTheKachra to expose BJP’s #GarbagePolitics, which will also make Delhiites aware of inefficient MCD,” the party’s Delhi convenor Dilip Pandey tweeted. PTI further quoted him as saying, “The BJP-led civic bodies are playing with the health of Delhiites. MCDs are obligated to keep Delhi clean, but have failed miserably in performing this duty."