Taking a leaf out of Aam Aadmi Party’s book the Congress too has started demanding a reduction in electricity tariffs in Mumbai. Congress Member of Parliament Sanjay Nirupam had gone on an indefinite hunger strike outside Reliance Energy office Kandivali (W) and demanded the lowering of electricity tariffs in Mumbai. The government had reduced the electricity tariffs in other parts of the state but has sidelined Mumbai. Earlier this week, electricity prices were cut by nearly 20% across Maharashtra, except in Mumbai. Mumbaikars were unhappy with the government’s decision to sideline the city and provide a relief to other parts of the state by reducing electricity tariffs. Today every party is holding dharna to garner support and seek publicity. Earlier Arvind Kejriwal and Anna Hazare used to hold dharna for the passage of Lokpal Bill. The Congress is blindly following them by protesting on the streets.
However, one can’t compare Nirupam with Arvind Kejriwal as his party is known for protesting. Kejriwal always attracts large number of crowds while holding demonstrations but only two MLAs, few corporators and local party supporters had participated in the protests held by Nirupam.
Congress supporters blocked the road, and demanded the reduction of power tariffs in the city. Heavy traffic jam was witnessed at the venue thereby creating inconvenience for commuters.
When AV contacted AAP Maharashtra unit President Mayank Gandhi, he said, “The Congress is merely emulating AAP by protesting in the city. Why they did not raise this issue five years back? It’s a ploy of the party to lure voters prior to the Lok Sabha election.”
Sanjay Nirupam was on stage along with his other party supporters and local MLA and Corporator. When AV approached Nirupam he refused to speak with us by saying that he is on a hunger strike and can’t speak.
When asked Congress MLA Aslam Shaikh about whether the party is emulating AAP, he said, “We are not following the footsteps of AAP, and they are emulating us. We have been holding demonstrations ever since India gained independence.”
Reliance Energy said the reduction in power tariff is the prerogative of the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC). The company has forwarded the MPs’ demand to the Maharashtra government, which has already formed a committee to look into the matter.
Last Monday, Mr Nirupam and MP Priya Dutt led hundreds of Congress workers in a protest at the same spot.