RLD men hold city to ransom

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 24, 2014 00:25 IST

Police barricaded several Lutyens’ Delhi roads and shut down a Metro station on Tuesday to prevent protests over a government order to Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Ajit Singh to vacate his official bungalow.

RLD supporters planned a Mahapanchayat at the residence which the authorities termed illegal and detained several participants as they tried to march towards the site.

The blocking of major roads close to the bungalow caused traffic snarls in various parts of central and south Delhi during morning rush hours and a cascading effect was felt at INA, Teen Murti, Aurangzeb Road and several other roundabouts.

For over three decades, Singh has been staying in the sprawling Tughlak Road bungalow earlier occupied by his father – late prime minister and popular farmer leader Chaudhary Charan Singh.

When the Centre pressurised him to move out, Ajit Singh and his supporters demanded the house be turned into a memorial to Charan Singh.

This led to clashes between the police and RLD and Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) workers on September 19 that left about 200 farmers and policemen injured.

Singh, who lost the Lok Sabha election, was served an eviction notice and water and power supply to the bungalow was disconnected following orders from the urban development ministry.

The RLD chief has agreed to move to a three-bedroom house in south Delhi on Wednesday but the demand for the memorial still stands.

“This bungalow is associated with the memory of my father. Farmers from across the country keep visiting it. For them it’s a landmark building… they felt humiliated by the government’s action. Their anger is justified,” he said.

Political analysts see a bid to revive agrarian and subaltern politics behind the demand from Singh’s supporters ahead of the October 15 assembly polls in Haryana.

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