In an effort to reach out to the trading community in the capital, the three municipal corporations are likely to pass a resolution “requesting that the ongoing sealing of properties be stayed for six months” at an emergency joint session on Saturday. The announcement was made by mayors of the three BJP-led municipal corporations on Thursday afternoon.
Addressing reporters at a press conference today, BJP Delhi unit chief Manoj Tiwari announced that a special joint session of the municipal corporations will take place on January 27. “In this emergency session, the three municipal corporations will pass a resolution requesting that the ongoing sealing of properties be stayed for six months. In these six months, the municipal corporations and the Delhi Government will complete the clarification work of formation of regularisation and conversion charge rules and put them in public domain,” said Tiwari.
Tiwari was joined by mayors of the three MCDs – Kamaljeet Sehrawat, Preety Aggarwal and Neema Bhagat – who attacked the AAP-led Delhi government for “misleading people on the issue of conversion charge”. “The money collected as conversion charge has not been misused. Whatever little diversion of funds has been made in public interest, it is due to the Delhi government’s failure to give the civic bodies proper funds as recommended by the Fourth Delhi Finance Commission,” said Aggarwal.
Alleging that the Delhi government had “failed the people of Delhi by neither notifying the commercial roads nor starting the formalities for regularization of unauthorized colonies”, Tiwari said, “They negligently filed an application before the Supreme Court seeking more time without submitting any work plan. As a result the Supreme Court ordered that sealing will start under the supervision of the Monitoring Committee.”
As the possibility of by-polls in 20 seats looms large on the national capital, battle-lines between the AAP and the BJP seem to have been drawn with the trading community caught in the cross-fire. For the BJP, while the possibility of by-polls gives them an opportunity to increase their share in the Assembly – which currently stands at 4 out of 70 seats – the ongoing sealing drive threatens to be their biggest problem.
On Wednesday, leader of opposition Vijender Gupta, along with three other MLAs of BJP and SAD, called upon the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Anil Baijal seeking relaxation to provide relief to the shop owners to save them from the sealing process. The move comes two days after the BJP extended support to the ‘bandh’ called by a section of traders in the national capital and one week after the state executive meeting saw senior BJP leaders stressing on the negative repercussions of the ongoing sealing drive.
“The problem is that the sealing is not being done by the BJP. But AAP has shifted the narrative entirely to make it a BJP versus trader issue. BJP is the original trader party and they have been traditionally our voters. Without their vote, our success in any elections, irrespective of the political climate, will be stunted,” said a senior BJP leader.