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A Protest For A Protest In Delhi- AAP Vs BJP

A failure to pay Municipal Corporation employees in Delhi sparked protests from both, the central and the state ruling parties on Monday, each holding the other accountable for the problem.

A collage of people protesting in India over payment of salaries.
BJP Protest (left) (Source: Prem Nath Pandey ) & AAP protest (right) (Source: ANI)

Employees of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) are currently facing problems of non-payment of salaries. Teachers, healthcare workers, sanitation staff, doctors, technicians, engineers, workers, nurses, commissioners, and other support staff haven’t received their salaries for a month with some cases going up to 4 months. AAP leaders protested outside the Civic Centre building with workers protesting inside. The BJP protest, on the other hand, marched to the Secretariat demanding the payment of dues by the government.

All three branches of the MCD are under the governance of the BJP while AAP is responsible for the state. The issue has existed for the last four years with the two parties locking horns over MCD jurisdiction. The AAP accused the BJP officials of corruption within the MCD resulting in non-payment of employee salaries. On the other hand, the BJP accuses the AAP of non-payment of employee salaries which the accused party claims paid. To add to this, the Congress called out both parties for protesting. Congress leader Mukesh Goel said that it is a shame that BJP and AAP who are both jointly responsible to pay the salaries are protesting.

The MCD in-charge from the AAP, Mukesh Pathak took part in the protest and was later detained by the Delhi police. Pathak along with several councilors alleged that the BJP had spent 11,000 crore rupees meant for employee salaries, last year. He said,

“In the last few months, workers deployed under the BJP-led MCDs are not getting paid and are unable to afford food. How do they continue working without pay? Last year, the BJP-led MCD spent around Rs 11,000 crore. Where did all that money go?”

On the other hand, the leader of the BJP protest, Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta said that he found it very sad the workers who risked their lives in containment zones and being on COVID-19 duty now had to protest to get their salaries. Speaking about the issue, he said,

“Leaders of the ruling AAP are insulting the hard work of sanitation workers by calling Delhi a dirty city. Health workers or teachers of corporations have all worked day and night in the corona period since March to deliver food and medicines to millions of people. Today, they are compelled to protest.”

MLAs from the AAP, Atishi, and Raghav Chadha said that if the MCD was unable to pay their employees, it was better for the BJP to resign. Atishi also said that the AAP was capable of running the MCD in the same budget while paying their employees on time and keeping Delhi clean. Adesh Gupta from the BJP said that the AAP was creating confusion. He justified BJP stand saying that the lack of incoming revenue from property taxes, conversion charge, and various other corporation taxes is due to people not being in a position to pay. He accused the AAP ministers of “trying to create confusion” by accusing the BJP and corporation office bearers of corruption.

A stalemate between the two ruling parties does not help the case of these employees, some of whom claim to not have received their salaries in over half a year. A government job that people lauded for its stability in the past has now become an uncertainty for its employees. Judicial intervention could be the right way to. An inquiry into the matter must be filed and a bench must be set-up to investigate the matter and find a resolution to the sorrows of the MCD staff.

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