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Rahul backs agitation by safai karamcharis, attacks centre, Delhi governments

Rahul Gandhi at a rally

New Delhi: Amid mounting public anger over heaps of garbage in the city not being cleared, Rahul Gandhi today launched a scathing attack on the Centre and Delhi Government for “failing to deliver” on their “tall promises” and accused them of passing the buck on each other.

Sitting on the ground surrounded by protesting sanitation workers in east Delhi, Rahul vowed to fight for their cause.
Over 12,000 safai karamcharis have been on strike for the last 10 days protesting against non-payment of their salaries for over two months.

Garbage has been rotting on roads and bylanes, raising stink and health concerns as frustrated citizens voiced their anger against the authorities. East Delhi Municipal Corporation spokesman said on an average 2,000 to 2,200 metric tonnes of garbage are daily generated.

Projecting Congress as the alternative that will fight for their cause and accusing the two governments of passing the buck on each other, Rahul joined a dharna by the safai karmacharis outside East Delhi MCD office.

Rahul, who has talked about decentralisation of power to the bottom rung of the society, justified the agitation by the sanitation workers, saying their demands will only be fulfilled if they showed their strength and promised to lend his weight to their struggle.

Referring to women safai workers, he said that they told him that though big promises were made, nothing tangible was done.

“They said somebody says one thing, the other something else but we are stuck up where we are. Delhi government says it is not our responsibility. It is the responsibilty of the Centre. Centre says it is not their responsibility but that of Delhi government.

“When you go to Delhi government, they say take your wages from Central government, when you go to Central government they tell you to get it from the Delhi government.
The reality is that both these are mere excuses,” the Congress Vice President said while addressing the sanitation workers.

Assuring them that he will take up their fight, he said, “I want to tell you a straight thing….    You are not going to get anything from these excuses. Your work will be done only when you show the strength of safai karmachari to both the governments of Delhi and Centre.

“Otherwise your work is not going to be done. I have come here because I am trying to add up my little strength to your power that is seen here.”

Projecting it to be larger fight beyond Delhi, Rahul justified their agitational path, saying he wants to tell the sanitation workers outside Delhi that they will not get anything if they just stick to making demands be it Delhi government or the Centre.

“If you show your strength, your work will be done in five minutes. You have begun a demonstration here. That is the perfectly right way. This is the thought. Our brothers and sisters, who clean Delhi have this idea in their mind.

“I want to tell themthat give your five-seven minutes here. The day your strength is seen here, have full faith, your demands will be met,” he said, adding that he was ready to sit with them even for 20 days if they want him to agitate with them.

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