Locals remember Kejri's overnight dharna at Rail Bhavan

People around Rail Bhavan still remember the demonstration where the then Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal slept on the pavement bearing the chill. 

Last year on January 20, Kejriwal sat on a dharna at Rail Bhavan. Some feel nothing much has changed in the past one year, others say the dharna had caused inconvenience to them as they were not able to reach their destinations on time. While vendors are of the opinion that the protest helped them to earn extra bucks.

Mohit Vats, a clerk in Rail Bhavan, said, “I don’t have fond memories of the last years demonstration. All that drama was very frustrating as we were not able to reach our offices on time.” 

“All the nearest Metro stations were closed and a heavy deployment of police had restricted the free movement of even the passers-by. There was chaos in the surrounding areas too,” he added.

However, street vendors around the area enjoyed the last year’s dharna. “For me the protest was beneficial as I was earning more money,” said Ram Lal, who runs a food stall near Rail Bhavan. 

“The footfall at the Rail Bhavan increased like anything and most of them used to buy snacks from my stall,” he added. “While he was fighting cold sleeping in the open, Kejriwal in turn gave us an opportunity to make a healthy living,” he said.

Some government officials said the protest was uncalled for. “A chief minister should work instead of sleeping on the pavement to disrupt daily business,” said Sumit Gupta, a government official. 

“The citizens of Delhi will be more grateful if the CM does his job right and work for making the lives of people easy,” he added.

The Aam Aadmi Party said nothing has changed in the past year. “AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal sat on a dharna demanding women security but the women in the city remain as insecure as they were. Even police has not come under the city government’s control and the demand for Delhi’s full statehood is a far cry,” an AAP spokesperson said.

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