The crowd at Kejriwal’s janata durbar on Saturday. Picture by Ramakant Kushwaha
Arvind Kejriwal’s truncated janata durbar triggered several tweets. One was from Bihar BJP leader Sushil Modi: “As Dy CM for 7 yrs I used to hold JANTA DURBAR every week. Well organised, no chaos. AAP believes more in symbolism than content.” Modi, now estranged from the JD(U) government in Bihar, did not mention how his former colleague, chief minister Nitish Kumar, holds the durbar. Here’s how:
When is Nitish Kumar’s janata durbar held?
On the first three Mondays of a month. On the fourth Monday, he meets party cadres. If there is a fifth Monday, he interacts with industrialists, entrepreneurs and trade and commerce bodies
Since when has he been holding it?
January 2006, two months after coming to power
Where is it held?
At 1 Aney Marg, the Bihar chief minister’s official residence
How is it conducted?
Each Monday is earmarked for complaints of a certain nature. On the first Monday, police and crime-related issues are addressed. On the second Monday, complaints related to five-six other departments are taken up. Same on the third Monday
How are the people informed about the type of complaint to be taken up on a particular day?
Notifications are issued in advance through block offices, gram panchayats and district headquarters. A day before, they are also publicised through media.
What if a scheduled hearing is called off?
If the decision is taken in advance, it is notified through the same channels that publicise the initial information
How many people are allowed at each durbar?
There is no bar on numbers. They vary between 200 and 500. At times, even 1,000 people show up
How is a complaint registered?
Around 6am on a Monday, officials start receiving applications from the people who queue up outside the CM’s house. The applications are then registered and put in serial order
What happens next?
Around 10am, Nitish enters the durbar and listens to each registered complainant individually. Ministers and officials stay by his side as he listens to the people. He sends for DMs and SPs too, if required
How long does it go on?
It is a daylong affair. From 9.30am to 5pm, the gates are thrown open to the people. At times, the durbar extends beyond 5pm
Does the durbar system work in Bihar?
Yes. It allows people to individually meet Nitish and the CM to stay in touch with the masses. Often, Nitish asks a minister to immediately address a complaint