New DelhiThe Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of “conspiring to destroy” small traders and benefit the big businessmen through sealing drives in the city. A group of traders, under the aegis of Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), also approached Union home minister Rajnath Singh and sought his ‘direct interference’ in the matter.More than 50 business units, running from properties officially earmarked as residences, have been shut down in Defence Colony and Chattarpur since Thursday by a sealing committee formed by the Supreme Court. On December 15, the Supreme Court had revived the three-member committee that had ordered the sealing of thousands of establishments between 2006 and 2012. On Sunday, AAP MLAs and councillors, along with party volunteers and traders, staged a protest against the sealing drive and burnt an effigy of South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC).The protest saw the presence of AAP members, led by legislators Saurabh Bharadwaj, Alka Lamba, Madan Lal, Ajay Dutt and Avatar Singh Kalra, demanding that conversion charges of traders be waived.Bharadwaj, who is also AAP’s spokesperson, said that the sword of sealing was hanging over big markets — including Green Park, Hauz Khas, Greater Kailash-I and II, South Extension among others. He alleged that the shops of the traders who have paid conversion charges had also been sealed during the drive. “This (the sealing drive) is a well-planned conspiracy by the BJP to decimate small traders and benefit the big ones. They want big multinational chains to come up by destroying small traders,” Bharadwaj said.He said that conversion charges – being demanded by the municipal corporation – range between ₹1 crore to ₹2 crore which were even higher than the cost of the shops.He said that according to laws, the municipalities should serve a notice to the shop owner 48 hours prior the sealing and should explain the reasons behind the move.“BJP works for the betterment of the traders and is against such sealing drives. Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari has already directed all the three municipal corporations not to carry out any sealing drive without prior notice to the shop owners in future. The AAP’s allegations have no ground,” said Praveen Shankar Kapoor, Delhi BJP spokesperson.