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AAP says Harsh Vardhan did nothing to curb pollution, help traders

In their campaign rallies, the AAP has pitched that Delhi Police should come under the city government and that can happen only with full statehood.

delhi Updated: Apr 12, 2019 05:21 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
AAP,harsh vardhan,BJP
AAP says Harsh Vardhan did nothing to curb pollution, help traders (Photo by Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times)

The Aam Aadmi Party Thursday trained its guns on Bharatiya Janata Party’s MP Harsh Vardhan for his U-turn on Delhi’s full statehood demand, his failure as environment minister to control pollution, and his failure to support traders of his constituency Chandni Chowk after demonetisation and the GST roll-out, among others.

“Doctor sahab (referring to Vardhan) was the first person to announce that full statehood for Delhi will be the first demand for the new Union government. What happened to the BJP now? Did Prime Minister Modi turn down his proposals? Or did he never approach the PM? How come BJP has now taken a U-turn?” Delhi convener for AAP Gopal Rai said.“Vardhan ji had always maintained that having Delhi Police under the Centre works against Delhi.”

In their campaign rallies, the AAP has pitched that Delhi Police should come under the city government and that can happen only with full statehood. Currently, it is the Centre, which exercises control over public order, police and land in Delhi through lieutenant-governor.

Responding to this allegation, Vardhan said: “It is only (Delhi CM) Arvind Kejriwal who is to be blamed for Delhi not getting full statehood. Why does he remember full statehood only ahead of polls? Why did he not organise a meeting with the MPs (regarding full statehood)?”

In a press conference under the AAP’s ongoing “pol khol” campaign, Rai Thursday accused Vardhan of “constantly attacking” the AAP government in Delhi for failing to curb air pollution. “There are four states of Uttar Pradesh in WHO’s list of most polluted cities. Delhi ranks sixth. But Kanpur tops the list, followed by Haryana and Varanasi, the Lok Sabha seat that the Prime Minister represents. What has he done about them?”

“Also, the BJP-led government in Haryana has allotted around 75,000 acres in the Aravallis for mining. Even the environment ministry (under Vardhan) has admitted it has happened but the minister failed to do anything about it. Presently, mining continues there and so do the protests by locals,” Gopal Rai said.

According to Vardhan, his ministry has extended all possible help to the Delhi government by going “out of its way” but accused the latter of politicising the matter of air pollution. “The environment ministry has done historical work in the last five years and that is why Modi was felicitated with the Champions of the Earth Award,” Vardhan said.

Rai and AAP leader Pankaj Gupta, who is the party’s Lok Sabha candidate from Chandni Chowk, accused Vardhan of not supporting traders in the aftermath of demonetisation and GST. Vardhan reacted, “People in Chandni Chowk know me well, they know what work I have done for them. These people (AAP leaders) are plain opportunists.”

First Published: Apr 12, 2019 05:21 IST