The Public Works Department of the Delhi government asked the Aam Aadmi Party to immediately vacate the party’s office on DDU Marg that was allotted last year in “violation” of the rules, invoking sharp criticism from the party leaders who described the development as gross “injustice”.
The development comes at a time when the party is preparing to contest April 23 elections for the three municipal corporations.
“People are after us. Hamara samman bahar fhekne ki taiyarri hai (preparation is on to throw our belongings out). We have received a notice to immediately vacate the office when we are preparing for the MCD elections,” party leader Ashish Khetan told reporters.
The PWD served the notice less than a week after lieutenant governor Anil Baijal ordered cancellation of the office allotment to the AAP in the wake of a report by the Shunglu Committee which pointed out “irregularities” in allotment.
The PWD had allotted 206, Rouse Avenue on DDU Marg to the ruling party to set up its office on January 20, 2016. The single-storey four-bedroom house with a huge garden, from where the AAP has been operating since January 25, 2016, is located opposite the Delhi Congress office. Before it was allotted to AAP, the property was earlier allotted repeatedly to former Delhi ministers, including ex-AAP minister Asim Ahmed Khan.
In November 2015, the AAP government had approved a policy for land allotment to state parties. The Kejriwal government then alloted a bungalow to the AAP on Rouse Avenue in 2016.
However, the PWD, in an observation to the L-G office, said that the city administration doesn’t have power to allot land to political parties as such powers in the national capital are vested with the Centre.
Reacting to the development, Khetan said other political parties have been operating from several bungalows in the city for but no action has been taken against them.
“People are now asking that a party which has formed government twice and has 67 out of 70 MLAs in Delhi does not have the right to have an office in the state where it is in power. On the other hand, each arm of the BJP has an office in the city,” Khetan said.