I blame, no, no I mean I bless the politicians…

I blame, no, no I mean I bless the politicians…

Well, one politician in particular.

One Mr. Ajit Singh to be precise.

Thanks to Mr. Singh, for the last 2 days I have had the luxury of running down 100% traffic free roads in Lutyens Delhi.

Like this :

IMG_5314(That van is a police van, by the way)

 

Let me explain.

Mr. Singh used to be a minister in the last coalition government which means he lived – sorry, I mean still lives –  in a stonking great Lutyens bungalow.

#12 Tughlak Road, to be precise.

Here it is:

IMG_5320

Not shabby at all.

But, sad to say, Mr. Singh lost his seat in the general elections in May.  Over 3 months ago.

Now these much coveted grace and favour bungalows, all nicely subsidised by we the poor tax payer, are one of the obvious perks of the job, a perk that Mr. Singh does not (quite understandably) wish to give up.

So, using a tactic that many a politician has used in the past, he has demanded – oh yes, demanded –  that the bungalow be made into a memorial for his late father, who was the sixth PM of India for a very short time.  Technically less than 6 months, though Wikipedia implies it was just a month.

And I quote :

“Charan Singh holds the record of being the sole Prime Minister of India who did not face the Lok Sabha (parliament) even for a single day during his short tenure of just a month. The day before the Lok Sabha was due to meet for the first time, the Indian National Congress withdrew their support from his Bharatiya Lok Dal Government. Charan Singh resigned and fresh elections were held six months later.”

Suffice it to say that his son –  75 year old Ajit Singh –  feels his papa deserves a nice bungalow as a memorial for this sterling service to the nation –  all one never-going-to-Parliament-month of it.  And so he refuses to move out, until his demands are met.

IMG_5315

 

There you go, Daddy in more detail.

IMG_5316

The government has turned down Mr. Singh’s request, I mean demand.

His water and electricity were cut last week. (At last, some action.)

But still he soldiers on.  And his supporters, mainly farmers, have rocked up in Delhi to show their support.

Hence the barricades.

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And the metro station closest to his house being closed yesterday.

And the city being hugely inconvenienced by early morning gridlock.

What you can’t see are all the riot police and armoured vehicles parked a little further down the road.

 

Right, enough of the faux flippancy.

What an outrage.

What a shameful waste of my tax rupees, your tax rupees, our police/traffic police/riot police time.

And how about the thousands of citizens whose days get wrecked by roads being closed, and the metro being closed, and the ensuing huge traffic jams.  I saw so many fathers on scooters ferrying their children to school, being turned back at the roundabout near the Ashoka Hotel.  They were pleading to be allowed through, but no.

Thanks to one calculating man and an administration that is too pusillanimous for speech, the city is held to ransom.

 

But I do get to run in total peace and quiet.

 

In fact, so peaceful and quiet was Tughlak Road this morning, that I ran up and down it 3 times, relishing the emptiness in what is otherwise a noisy traffic-choked city.

Even the little Hindu shrine was locked and shuttered this morning, and minus the small crowd who is normally there, waiting for alms.

IMG_5317

 

 

 

Every day I try and vary the route within Lutyens Delhi, but as long as Tughlak Road is barricaded, I shall huff and puff my way there every day.

Just for the peace.

And also so that I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I am benefitting from the actions of an Indian politician.

 

This was my run this morning.  All 15.33 km of it.

Lucky for me, my Garmin doesn’t differentiate on the track log between running and walking…’cos there was a fair amount of the latter after the 12km point…

run 240914

 

I try and include India Gate and Raj Path as often as possible, simply because they are both so utterly fabulous, and no matter how many times I run around India Gate (and how exciting to be able to say that) I get such a thrill.

 

 

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