North civic body mayor suspends 22 councillors, AAP says it’s undemocratic
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation mayor on Tuesday suspended 22 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councillors for creating a ruckus and disrupting the proceedings of the corporation’s House. As per the mayor’s order, the suspended councillors will not be allowed to attend the next three House meetings.
AAP senior leader and MCD in-charge Durgesh Pathak said the councillors were suspended “undemocratically” and that they will hold a day-long sit-in protest on Wednesday outside the North MCD mayor Jai Prakash’s office, demanding roll back of the suspension order.
The AAP has 30 councillors in the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, which is ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The House convened on Tuesday to discuss the financial crunch being faced by the civic body and ways to boost revenue to pay salaries to 55,000 employees and dues of over 20,000 pensioners.
“I had given the AAP councillors a warning even in the previous House meetings to not raise slogans and allow the proceedings to go on peacefully. However, today again when such an important issue was being discussed, they continued to raise slogans and came into the well of the House. I will not allow them to attend the proceedings of the House for the next three meetings,” said Jai Prakash.
The cash-strapped civic body has been unable to pay salaries of its employees including doctors, nursing staff, paramedics, teachers as well as safai karamcharis.
Leader of the Opposition in the North Corporation and AAP councillor Vikas Goel said the AAP members were raising relevant questions but they were not allowed to participate in the discussion. “We had filed a short notice to discuss the various sources of revenue such as the recovery of payments from parking contractors, among others. They did not take up the discussion even towards the end of proceedings,” said Goel.
Pathak said the AAP councillors wanted to fix accountability for the poor financial condition of the civic body. “The BJP is so scared that they are trying to muzzle AAP’s voice. Today, Delhi is the dirtiest city of India and the AAP wanted to discuss this matter with the mayor. We also pointed out that the budget of all the MCDs is around Rs 18,000 crore but the municipal staff are not getting paid for the past several months. The AAP councillors wanted to know where the money went,” Pathak said addressing a press conference.
Pathak said the suspension means that the AAP councillors will not be able to attend the House for the next three months because the North MCD House usually meets only once a month.
Responding to AAP’s allegations, Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta said the Kejriwal government owes crores of rupees to the three municipal corporations.”It is because of sheer political malice that the Delhi government has neither released the entire funds allocated to the MCDs of their budget and whatever fund is given, it is not given on time,” Gupta said.