AAP effect: Sanjay Nirupam threatens stir for power rate cut in Mumbai

The Aam Aadmi Party government's decision to slash electricity tariff by half in Delhi has led Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam to make a similar demand for Mumbai residents.

In a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, the North Mumbai MP threatened to launch a "massive" agitation if the power tariff for consumers consuming less than 500 units per month is not immediately reduced.

"If the rightful demand of the entire middle class and slum population is not heeded in the immediate future, we will launch a massive agitation against our own government to demand reduction in power tariff. The tariff cut is sought for a section that consumes less than 500 units of electricity. There is no justification for the private companies charging massive power rates," the two-page letter read.

Speaking to the mediapersons, he said: "There is no reason to believe why Maharashtra government cannot initiate similar decision as done by (Arvind) Kejriwal in Delhi to provide relief to middle class and slum dwellers."

The Congress MP also demanded audit of all private companies as ordered by Kejriwal in Delhi. "It appears there is a cartel at work which periodically raises the power rates. The government should crack the whip."

Later in the evening, Nirupam's demand got support from Maharashtra Congress chief Manikrao Thakre who too wrote to the Chief Minister urging him to look into the possibility of reducing power tariffs.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who holds the power and finance portfolio, said he could consider the demand after ascertaining the financial burden on the state government. The state's biggest anxiety is that any attempt to reduce power tariff would amount to an additional burden up to Rs 1,500 crore on the state exchequer.

The BJP, meanwhile, dismissed Nirupam's demand as "nothing but a political stunt". State BJP president Devendra Fadnavis said: "If they are so concerned, nothing stops them from taking concrete decisions to provide relief to the people."

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