NEW DELHI: An Aam Aadmi Party councillor was beaten up by a group of BJP councillors at a joint session of the three municipal corporations, the first such meeting after the municipal body was trifurcated, on Thursday.
The scene was captured live by television cameras and shared on social media. The session was called on a day the Delhi assembly was convened to discuss the working of the municipal bodies and state of sanitation in the Capital.
The MCDs had called the session to “expose” the alleged attempts by the AAP government to starve the civic bodies of funds.
AAP councillor Rakesh Kumar, from Kucha Pandit in Chandni Chowk, had worn the signature ‘Main Hoon Aam Aadmi’ cap of his party but some BJP members objected. When Kumar refused to take it off, the BJP members got aggressive. After a brief altercation, the BJP members beat him up and pushed him away.
The session was being held at the Ramlila Maidan in central Delhi, from where AAP emerged out of an anti-corruption movement led by activist Anna Hazare.
“I had worn the party cap to highlight that there are members from other political parties and they should be given a chance to voice their views. However, as soon as the Mayors objected, I removed it,” said Kumar.
“Soon after, the BJP councillors brutally assaulted me,” he said.
A police complaint has been filed.
To express their solidarity with Kumar, Congress members walked out demanding action against the guilty.
“We are not supporting a political party here, we are objecting to an assault on a councillor who has been democratically elected. The guilty should be barred from attending municipal house sessions and strict action should be taken against them,” said Farhad Suri, leader of the opposition, SDMC.
The BJP councillors accused Kumar of using “unparliamentary” language and provoking the assault. “Kumar abused the councillors to provoke them. When I confronted him, he attacked me,” said Neeraj Gupta, councillor, SDMC.
The Delhi BJP said the party didn’t approve of violence but the incident was a result of a “conspiracy by AAP”. “We have similarly seen AAP MLAs violating the decorum of the Delhi Vidhan Sabha by entering the house wearing party caps,” said a party spokesperson.
North Delhi Mayor, Sanjeev Nayyar, who was in the chair, condemned the incident and said an inquiry would be initiated.