A day before being sworn-in as chief minister, Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal gave Delhi a sneak preview of his style of governance when he got NDMC officials, including Secretary Vikas Anand, to accompany him to mohalla sabhas in his own New Delhi constituency. Urging people to list their problems, he directed officials there and then to find solutions.
"The oath-taking ceremony will happen tomorrow but I have come here to fulfil the promise that I made to you. I have not come here alone, I am accompanied by officials of the NDMC. Your problems will be heard by us and solutions will be given here," Kejriwal told a crowd at the first mohalla sabha in Mandir Marg on Friday evening.
At these meetings, NDMC officials were asked to respond to complaints from people on a range of issues — from irregular water supply to contract jobs, accommodation shortage to muster rolls, referral system to maintenance of parks, even security.
Gopal Mohan, AAP member who was Kejriwal's poll campaign manager in New Delhi constituency, said: "We had informed the NDMC on Thursday about the programme. We told them that under the AAP government, this is how things will be done. Decisions will not be made behind closed doors."
Other than Secretary Anand, an executive engineer, two junior engineers, and two HR officials of the NDMC were present at these sabhas, Mohan said.
The Valmiki Society Housing Colony on Mandir Marg, where Kejriwal began his poll campaign, was the venue for the first "mock mohalla sabha".
While final demarcation of areas which come under each mohalla sabha will take place only after the AAP's Swaraj Bill is passed, "mock mohalla sabhas" were held at three places on Friday — Mandir Marg, Kalibari Marg and Raja Bazar.
At Raja Bazar, Kejriwal said: "The idea behind these meetings is to send a message — these officers have to come to you to look at your problems. Decisions will not be made behind closed doors now. They will happen in consultation with all of you."
At Mandir Marg, a man walked up to Kejriwal and said: "Our children have not been able to find employment despite being educated. Some have paid up to Rs 15,000 to be on the muster rolls. Their jobs have still not been regularised."
As more complaints poured in, Kejriwal