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Anti-Kejriwal protesters ‘hijack’ AAP’s march to protest sealing of shops in Delhi

The members of the group — Delhi Dehat Yuva Shakti — alleged that the Delhi chief minister had cheated the people of rural Delhi by ignoring their demands of better facilities such as roads, transport and drinking water.

delhi Updated: Jan 15, 2018 21:57 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
AAP,sealing drive,kejriwal
AAP MLAs protest against MCD against sealing of shops at Delhi Vidhan Sabha in New Delhi on Monday.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

The Aam Aadmi Party’s plans to organise a protest march on Monday afternoon over the on-going sealing drive by civic bodies were marred by counter-protesters who raised anti-Kejriwal slogans outside the party’s office at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg.

At noon, as party workers, leaders and municipal councillors started assembling to participate in the scheduled protest march from AAP office to the Civic Centre, a group of youths appeared outside the office raising anti-Arvind Kejriwal slogans.

The members of the group — Delhi Dehat Yuva Shakti — alleged that the Delhi chief minister had cheated the people of rural Delhi by ignoring their demands of better facilities such as roads, transport and drinking water.

“Arvind Kejriwal has come with a promise of better services in Delhi, particularly in rural parts on outer Delhi. But he has failed on every count. We wanted to meet him but he has no time even to meet us,” said Devender Kumar, one of the agitators.

As the group protested, a group of policemen rushed to the spot and confined the protestors to one end of the road by placing barricades. It took police officials around 15 minutes to disperse them till the AAP protest march came out of the office and proceeded towards Civic Centre on Minto Road.

Before the AAP march, party leader and Delhi convener Gopal Rai alleged that traders were being harassed by the BJP-led corporations in the garb of the sealing drive across Delhi. The drive is being carried out under the supervision of a Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee against commercial establishments flouting municipal byelaws.

“Traders are already burdened with demonetisation and improper implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Now, the sealing drive has sent shockwaves among traders. The MCDs are using the exercise to extort money from them,” Rai said.

AAP’s march, attended by over three hundred traders and party workers, was led by party leader Dilip Pandey.

“We know the MCDs have collected crores of Rupees as conversion charges. But we don’t know where that money is being spent,” Pandey said.

The march ended at the Civic Centre where the agitators staged a demonstration against MCD. AAP traders’ wing convener Brajesh Goyal alleged that MCD officials are demanding conversion charges from shop owners who have already paid it.

Officials of three municipal corporations initiated a sealing drive last month, in accordance with the instructions of a Supreme Court-appointed panel that was recently revived by top court.

The monitoring panel — comprising KJ Rao, former advisor to the Election Commission, Bhure Lal, chairman of Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority and major general (retd) Som Jhingan — is also empowered to seal commercial establishments that have done illegal construction and where agricultural land has been misused for commercial purposes.

First Published: Jan 15, 2018 21:56 IST