New Delhi: The inaugural 'janta darbar' or public hearing called by Arvind Kejriwal today could not go as planned following chaos at Delhi Secretariat where hundreds had turned up hoping to get an audience with their 'aam aadmi' Chief Minister.
Security personnel at the sprawling complex in central Delhi were forced to take Mr Kejriwal away from the site. However, his colleagues in the Cabinet - Rakhi Birla, Somnath Bharti and Saurabh Bhardwaj - collected the application letters addressed to the Delhi government.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal apologised for his administration's mishandling of the event. "There could have been stampede had I not left 'janta darbar'. Better arrangement is needed next time," Mr Kejriwal said. (Read)
"The turnout was more than we expected," the 45-year-old leader added.
The opening of the VIP gates of the Secretariat for the aam aadmi or common man - a promise that the Aam Aadmi Party had made in its manifesto - resulted in the security forces outnumbered by people with a grievance to report to their government. (Watch)
The opposition BJP slammed the event. "The government is doing it for elections, not for people," Delhi BJP's Vijay Goel said.
"As Dy CM for 7 yrs I used to hold JANTA DURBAR every week.Well organised,no chaos.AAP believes more in symbolism then content (sic)," Mr Goel's colleague from Bihar, Sushil Kumar Modi, tweeted.
Mr Kejriwal's associate from his anti-corruption movement days, Kiran Bedi, also took a dig, "For God's sake,Arvind and Team,Secretariats are not run from Roof Tops! Pl take time to listen/absorb! And then take considered decisions!"
Among the people waiting for their Chief Minister was the family of a four-year-old boy, who was crushed under a bus on December 31. The parents - father is a daily wager and mother a domestic help - allege the police refused to act against the driver.
On Thursday, Mr Kejriwal had announced that his entire cabinet will sit outside their offices at the Delhi Secretariat on Saturday every week and hear grievances from people and try to solve them. On weekdays, he said, one minister will hear grievances from the public.