Additional forces deployed, arterial Delhi road closed in view of AAP, BJP protests
The traffic was snarled including on the Ring Road as the arterial Deen Dayal Upadhyaya (DDU) Marg was closed for traffic between ITO and Minto Bridge
The Delhi Police on Friday put up barricades and closed the arterial Deen Dayal Upadhyaya (DDU) Marg for traffic between ITO and Minto Bridge as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) planned protests against each other outside their offices in the area, snarling traffic including on the Ring Road.
“As the DDU Marg has been barricaded between ITO Chowk intersection and Minto Road crossing, traffic is being diverted on alternate routes for commuters travelling to and from New Delhi railway station from Ajmeri Gate side. Those coming from eastern parts of Delhi, Ghaziabad, and Noida or Sarai Kale Khan side are being asked to reach the railway station either via Delhi Gate or from Connaught Place circle,” said a police officer. The officer added traffic personnel have been developed in sufficient numbers to assist commuters.
There was bumper-to-bumper traffic on Vikas Marg connecting central Delhi with east Delhi via Laxmi Nagar, the Ring Road from Sarai Kale Khan and Delhi-Meerut Expressway, the Delhi-Noida Direct flyway, Pragati Maidan tunnel, Purana Quila Road, Mathura Road towards ITO Chowk from Delhi Zoo, Netaji Subhash Marg from Daryaganj towards the ITO Chowk, and Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg from the Ring Road towards Ajmeri Gate.
No traffic advisory regarding the traffic diversions or closure of the DDU Marg was issued until Friday afternoon. The social media handles of the traffic police were responding to the complaints regarding traffic disruptions.
The AAP announced the protest against the BJP’s “malpractices” in the counting of votes in the Chandigarh mayoral election this week, over an hour after news of the Enforcement Directorate (ED)’s issuing fifth summons to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal broke.
Kejriwal on Friday skipped the summons for questioning in connection with the money laundering case linked to alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped excise policy 2021-22. Kejriwal and his Punjab counterpart, Bhagwant Mann, were expected to lead the protest outside the BJP headquarters to save the country from “theft of votes”.
The BJP on Tuesday won the election after the fourth of the votes were scrapped amid allegations of vote tampering. Kejriwal blamed “electoral malpractice” for the loss of the AAP-Congress combine. He accused the BJP of “rigging the ballot” and said the incident set a bad precedent for the country ahead of the general elections.
In a post on X on Friday, Kejriwal said police were detaining AAP lawmakers and volunteers headed to the protest site. “What is this going on?” Kejriwal asked.
His Cabinet colleague Atishi wrote on X about barricades being put up across Delhi. She added buses full of AAP volunteers were being detained and hundreds of paramilitary forces have been stationed outside the AAP office. “...why is the BJP so scared of a protest on the Chandigarh mayor elections?” Atishi asked on X.
A police officer said traffic has been diverted to Delhi Gate, Ring Road, Connaught Place, and Minto Road to Ajmeri Gate as thousands of people were expected to take the DDU Marg.
Delhi Police spokesperson Suman Nalwa said arrangements have been put in place to ensure public order and normal movement.
Around 1,000 security and traffic police personnel have been deployed in and around DDU Marg, ITO, and other areas in central Delhi. As many as 700-800 personnel have been positioned at Singhu and Tikri borders as AAP workers were expected to come from Punjab to join the protest outside the BJP headquarters on the DDU Marg.
As many as 25 AAP workers from Punjab were detained at the Singhu border.
Deputy police commissioner (outer-north) Ravi Kumar Singh said nearly 400 personnel have been deployed there. His outer Delhi counterpart, Jimmy Chiram, said deployments have also been made at the Tikri border but there is not much movement of AAP workers there. “Apart from the arrangements at the Tikri border, we have also sounded alerts to all police stations in the outer district to remain alert and vigilant on roads.”
The Delhi Police has reportedly denied permission to both political parties to hold the protests. But no senior police officers were available to comment on this.