BJP-AAP meet on sealing drive ends in chaos; Delhi govt says will move SC

The Delhi government decided to move the Supreme Court seeking a temporary ban on the sealing drive, even as a meeting between local BJP leaders and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to resolve the issue failed to reach a consensus and instead ended up in a ruckus at his residence.

The police registered a case on Tuesday night, following a complaint by the Delhi BJP unit alleging “misbehaviour” and “attack” by AAP legislators and “anti-social elements” during their meeting at Kejriwal’s residence in north Delhi.

The BJP leaders walked out of the meeting following the chaos.

Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari alleged that woman mayors of BJP-ruled north and east civic bodies – Preety Agarwal and Neema Bhagat – along with the leader of opposition in the Delhi Assembly, Vijender Gupta, and his personal assistant were “attacked” at Kejriwal’s residence.

The Congress, however, termed the incident a “fake fight” between the two parties, with its Delhi unit chief Ajay Maken saying they should approach the apex court to provide relief to the traders hit by the drive against illegal commercial establishments.

The sealing drive is being carried out by BJP-controlled municipal corporations for a month. A political slugfest has ensued between the opposition BJP and the ruling AAP over the issue.

A senior police officer confirmed that an FIR has been registered and they were probing the alleged misbehaviour by AAP workers at Kejriwal’s residence. He said they will be procuring the CCTV camera footage of the alleged incident.

The case was registered after a complaint filed by Delhi BJP general-secretary Ravinder Gupta with Civil Lines police station named AAP MLAs Jarnail Singh, Akhilesh Tripathi, Rajesh Rishi, Sanjeev Jha and Jitender Tomar.

Talking to reporters after the rukus at his official residence in north Delhi’s Civil Lines area, Kejriwal said he was “sad” that the BJP did not participate in the meeting.

“Delhi government will approach the Supreme Court seeking a temporary ban on the drive being carried out by civic bodies against properties allegedly violating the civic norms,” he said.

Kejriwal said had the Centre, the L-G and the BJP wanted, not one shop would have been sealed in the national capital. He alleged that the BJP was doing politics on the issue.

“Although the BJP delegation had come for a discussion over sealing, they did not raise this issue in the meeting.

“Manoj Tiwari raised only two issues – unauthorised colonies and 351 roads, which have nothing to with the ongoing sealing drive. On 351 roads, there is no sealing yet, but despite this, BJP is raising this issue again and again,” he said.

Kejriwal said the BJP was diverting the attention from the sealing drive.

BJP leader Gupta too alleged that AAP leaders and workers misbehaved with BJP members during the meeting. AAP workers entered into a scuffle with BJP workers there, he charged.

Tiwari said the BJP delegation walked out of the meeting as Kejriwal converted it into a “public rally”.

“We sensed their dangerous mood and felt that he was not interested in finding a solution to the problem,” he charged.

On BJP’s claim that AAP legislators attacked its leaders, Kejriwal said the saffron party was levelling “baseless allegations”.

“If any MLA has misbehaved with them, I will throw him out (of the AAP)… Recently, I had written to the L-G on the sealing issue and suggested four steps to give a relief to traders, but it is unfortunate that the Centre and L-G is not taking immediate step to stop the sealing,” Kejriwal said.

He said the BJP leaders wanted a “closed-door” discussion, but he denied the suggestion saying there should be an open discussion on the sealing drive, and that was why he had called AAP legislators and councillors for the meeting.

Later in the day, Kejriwal visited Chandni Chowk and other areas and interacted with traders affected by sealing.

There, the chief minister alleged that the BJP government at the Centre and the Lt Governor, who can stop sealing by amending the ‘Master Plan 2021’, are “refraining” from doing so.

Civic bodies have undertaken the sealing drive initiated by the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee. Commercial premises have been sealed for failing to deposit conversion charges according to provisions in the master plan.

The AAP has demanded that the central government either bring an ordinance or amend the master plan to stop sealing.

The BJP, on the other hand, has demanded that the AAP dispensation come out with a notification on mix land use to give a relief to the city’s traders. PTI