Politics News

Ahead of Polls in Punjab, Channi and Kejriwal Woo Auto, Taxi Drivers

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Monday assured auto-rickshaw drivers that their pending challans will be waived as he heard their grievances here. Channi met a group of auto-rickshaw drivers at the Gill chowk area. His meeting with them came hours before AAP national convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s ”Auto Samwad programme”. Kejriwal in Moga had even taken a dig at Channi for meeting auto-rickshaw drivers before his proposed interaction with them.

Channi halted on his way to the grain market to listen to problems of the auto-rickshaw drivers, according to an official release. Channi accompanied by Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu took a wooden bench to sit amongst auto-rickshaw owners and interacted with them. Channi also relished tea offered by them. During his interaction, the CM assured them to consider their genuine demands sympathetically.

Channi also addressed the gathering and told them that during his initial days, he himself had driven an auto-rickshaw. He announced that the new registration certificates would be issued soon to prevent their harassment.

He also announced that their pending challans will be waived. Channi asked them to follow traffic rules and acceded to their demand of drawing a yellow line, exclusively for the plying of auto-rickshaws. Besides Channi and Sidhu, ministers Manpreet Singh Badal and Bharat Bhushan Ashu, MLAs Kuldeep Singh Vaid, Sanjay Talwar and Lakhbir Singh Lakha were also present.

Meanwhile, AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal on Monday had dinner at the residence of an auto driver, a group he is trying to woo ahead of the Punjab Assembly polls. The Delhi chief minister said every autorickshaw driver in the national capital considers Kejriwal his brother because of all the work his government has done and added that he has now come to be the brother of drivers in Punjab.

Kejriwal was invited for dinner by Dilip Kumar Tewari, an auto driver, at his residence. The AAP leader accepted the invitation and went there accompanied by state party leaders Bhagwant Mann and Harpal Singh Cheema. Earler, addressing an ‘Auto Samwad’ programme, he promised to solve the problems of auto and taxi drivers if they help the AAP come into power in Punjab in the upcoming polls. He said before the formation of the AAP government in Delhi, auto drivers had to pay bribes a number of times from morning till night. His government made all services faceless which means a person does not need to make rounds of offices for completion of their work, Kejriwal added.

They only need to visit office once for a fitness certificate and the rest of the work is done by the government employee coming to the driver’s house, he said. The AAP leader said that during the Covid pandemic, the Delhi government disbursed a total of Rs 150 crore to the city’s auto, taxi and tempo drivers by providing Rs 5,000 per month. He said this has not been given by any other state government in the country.

“Due to the unparalleled work done by the Delhi government for auto and cab drivers, every auto driver in Delhi considers me his brother. In the same way today I have come to be your brother. I have come to build a relationship. Make me your brother and I’ll solve all your problems,” Kejriwal said. On the occasion, he announced the formation of a joint corporation of autorickshaw and taxi drivers, so that they can formulate their own policies. Kejriwal said necessary reforms and changes will be made in rules and regulations in Punjab like it has been done in Delhi.

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