After Congress city chief Sanjay Nirupam called India’s surgical strikes “fake”, civic activists on Wednesday boycotted an event by the party to discuss the interim open spaces policy approved by group leaders of ruling parties in the BMC – the Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Although the activists called the approval for the policy a move to gobble up land before the civic elections, they refused to share the stage with the leader.
Nirupam on Tuesday tweeted, “Every Indian wants #SurgicalStrikesAgainstPak but not a fake one to extract just political benefit by #BJP. Politics over national interest.”
Shailesh Gandhi, an RTI activist, said, “We cannot share the stage with a politician who questions surgical strikes as our army men are fighting it out every day to keep us safe. It is unfortunate that people need evidence for such things.”
Despite repeated attempts, Nirupam was unavailable for comment.
Praveen Chheda, Opposition leader at BMC, said, “The activists said they had some work and they could not make it to the event.” When asked about the activists’ stand owing to Nirupam’s remarks, Chheda said, “These are two different topics. None of the ‘boycotting the event’ rumours is true.”
The policy allows the civic body to get into agreement with private parties to hand over 216 plots to them for 11 months or till the finally policy is approved, whichever happens first.
Sources said the policy is a face saviour for the BMC, as the adoption policy has been stayed by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. The CM had also ordered taking back of all plots, of which the civic body has managed to get back 126 plots, while 90 are still under the control of political bigwigs from the ruling Shiv Sena and BJP.
“We oppose the interim policy as we do not understand why the civic administration should create a third party interest,” said Gandhi.
Anandini Thakoor, chairperson, H-west federation, who was to be a part of the discussion, said, “We object to what Nirupam has said about the surgical strikes and so we did not attend the event. Our stand on the open spaces policy has not changed. We are completely against the administration giving out the land to anyone.”