New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday said that the AAP government went ahead with the odd-even plan despite apprehensions that the move may have an adverse impact on the party's vote bank.
He, however, asserted that the people have appreciated the initiative and cooperated with the government in the plan's implementation as protecting the environment is a major challenge.
"Around one-and-a-half months back when the odd-even plan was being deliberated upon, apprehensions were raised that if the scheme is rolled out, Delhi's public will be so disappointed with us that we will lose the 2017 MCD election but the scheme was important as there was an urgent need to address the traffic and pollution problems," Kejriwal said at a book launch event here.
"We do not view everything as vote bank because with that perspective we will not be able to work for benefit of the public. If we were only bothered about the vote bank and focused only on conventional politics, we would not have been able to implement the odd-even scheme," he said.
The Chief Minister said, "The plan's success has strengthened our confidence that if public is taken along even difficult tasks can be handled and public support is bigger than even the Lieutenant Governor and the Centre."
Kejriwal said that his government's plan was to ensure that the odd-even scheme does not get reduced to a mere slogan.
"There has been no vote bank politics behind the plan, neither it was meant to just popularise another slogan for pollution-free Delhi. It was a carefully chalked out plan with real-time implementation which has been appreciated by people across the party lines and sections of the society," Kejriwal said.
"There were two ways to do it. We could have announced the rule and impounded every vehicle violating it, which of course was not a practical solution. We had to make the public aware and take them along so that people follow it voluntary," he said.
The odd-even vehicular restriction policy of the Delhi government came into effect on January 1 with thousands of volunteers taking to the streets to assist traffic police in enforcing the pilot plan that will stay in force till January 15.
25 categories have received exemption from the restrictions, including emergency service vehicles, taxis and cars being driven by women, which may have only female co-passengers and children up to age of 12.
Two wheelers and CNG-run vehicles have also been exempted. Under the scheme, private cars bearing odd registration plates are allowed to ply on odd dates while those with even numbers shall do so on even dates. Those caught violating the scheme have to pay a penalty of Rs 2,000.
On the first two days of the odd-even scheme trial, 479 people were challaned for violation of the norms but experts have said that the real litmus test for the road-rationing experiment will be from tomorrow.