This Article is From Jan 14, 2014

The AAP effect: Congress leaders protest against rising power rates in Mumbai

Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam during the protest

Mumbai: Hundreds of Congress workers led by Mumbai MPs Sanjay Nirupam and Priya Dutt are protesting outside the Kandivali West office of Reliance Energy, the Anil Ambani-owned power company that provides electricity in their constituencies. 

Mr Nirupam, the Lok Sabha MP from the Mumbai North constituency and Ms Dutt who represents the North West constituency in Mumbai, are demanding a reduction in electricity tariffs like the one announced by the new Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi. Their party, the Congress, leads a coalition government in Maharashtra.

The BJP's Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted today, "Strange! prominent Congress MPs in Mumbai protest against government run by their party on power tariff! Nukkad Natak? Or election campaign?"

Mr Nirupam had written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan last month threatening a mass agitation if electricity rates were not cut.

In his strongly-worded letter, the Lok Sabha MP had repeatedly referred to AAP's measures to reign in power rates in Delhi. He also suggested an audit of private power companies operating in Mumbai on the lines of an investigation by the national auditor requested by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The Mumbai lawmaker has alleged that cartelisation is driving up power tariffs.

Besides Reliance Energy, BEST, a government supplier, and Tata Power also provide electricity in Mumbai.

Outside the Reliance office where the Congress workers are protesting, the Samajwadi Party has put up a large poster that seeks to explain that the power company has already decided on a tariff cut from April 1 this year and that power prices could be reduced if the government scraps the 18 per cent tax.