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With Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal yet to shift base to Delhi, everyday life for residents of Kaushambi in Ghaziabad has been thrown out of gear.
Battling a stomach bug, and having refused ministerial accommodation, the chief minister has been meeting government officials in Ghaziabad over the past three days. However, with extensive security arrangements for “crowd management”, Kejriwal’s neighbours in Girnar Apartments and residents of nearby apartment blocks are facing a myriad difficulties.
Sharmila Anand, who lives in Girnar Apartments — which provide accommodation for officers of the Indian Revenue Service, said, “Even before he was elected Chief Minister, many people would collect within the premises to meet him. Therefore, AAP volunteers often man the gates outside the stairs, and prevent our guests from coming in. They think they (our guests) are using it as an excuse to meet Kejriwal. I have lived here for five years. Why should I have to fight to get into my own home? Who are these volunteers to ask me questions?”
On Monday, with Ghaziabad police adding to the security personnel stationed outside the CM’s house, traffic management too became an issue.
“The Ghaziabad police stopped people outside the main gate to the apartments, and this meant a huge crowd spilling onto the road. I got stuck in a traffic jam outside my house, and took 15 minutes to travel 200 metres,” Santosh Singh, a resident of Mandakini Apartments located on the same lane as Girnar Apartments, said.
More than 20 km away, at Hanuman Road, where house number 41 has served as the party’s headquarters for the last few months, the story is much the same. “Nearly everyday, on this narrow lane, there are media vans and other vehicles parked on both sides of the road. They make it a single lane, leading to traffic snarls. This used to be a quiet neighbourhood, and the AAP office has turned it into a thoroughfare,” one resident said.
AAP officials said they were mindful of such complaints and had applied for a new office.
“We try and put volunteers on the road to manage the situation as much as possible. We have applied for a new office, and hope it will be allotted at the earliest. Arvindji will also move to another accommodation when an appropriate location is suggested,” an official said.