Kejriwal calls all-party meeting to find solution to sealing issue, Cong to attend, BJP mum
Kejriwal, who is also the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener, wrote letters to Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken and BJP’s Delhi unit president Manoj Tiwaridelhi Updated: Mar 11, 2018 23:31 IST
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday invited the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress state leadership for an “all-party meeting” at his residence on Tuesday to find solutions to ongoing sealing drive in the city that has irked traders and shop owners.
Kejriwal, who is also the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener, wrote letters to Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken and BJP’s Delhi unit president Manoj Tiwari, inviting them for the meeting to discuss the problems being faced by traders due to the sealing drive in some major Delhi markets.
Maken, who had suggested on Saturday that AAP and Congress leaders meet, took to twitter to thank Kejriwal and agreed to discuss the issue with him on Tuesday. He added that it was a good move to invite the BJP because the three municipal corporations engaged in the sealing drive are run by the BJP.
The Delhi BJP was yet to officially confirm if it will be joining the meeting though some party leaders said that they were “unlikely” to attend because chief minister’s invitation was a ”drama”. The leader of Opposition in the Delhi assembly Vijender Gupta said: “The last time we went to meet Kejriwal on this issue, we were manhandled. He is not serious about solving the traders problems.”
Till Sunday, over 3,000 shops and commercial establishments across the city have been sealed in a sealing drive that started on December 15 on the directions of a Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee.
In separate letters to Tiwari and Maken, Kejriwal wrote: “A terrible situation has emerged in Delhi due to sealing. For public welfare it is necessary that we should rise above politics and come together to find a solution to the problems that have come up due to sealing.”
Kejriwal suggested in the letter that not more than three people from each party should be at the meeting so that it can be held smoothly. “My government and the party will do everything possible in its domain to stop sealing in the city and re-open the sealed shops,” he wrote.
On Friday, Kejriwal had threatened to go on a hunger strike if the ongoing sealing drive was not stopped by March 31. He had made the announcement at the Old Double Storey market in Lajpat Nagar IV, where four policemen and two traders were injured on Thursday after the police personnel allegedly baton-charged businessmen protesting the sealing drive.
BJP may skip
Tuesday’s all-party meeting at chief minister Arvind Kejrwal’s residence to discuss the sealing drive will be the first such gathering at his home after the alleged assault on chief secretary Anshu Prakash by AAP MLAs last month.
The Delhi BJP is likely to boycott the meeting. Leader of opposition Vijender Gupta said the AAP government was “not serious” about solving the problems of traders.
Gupta said that in January, he with Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari and other leaders had gone to the CM’s residence to discuss the sealing drives but they “were manhandled by AAP volunteers.” The AAP had denied the charge.
“We have learnt from the previous incidents of manhandling with the BJP delegation and the assault on the chief secretary that anybody visiting the CM’s residence should wear a helmet. He is just playing politics and doing drama on the sealing issue,” Gupta said when asked about the BJP’s response to the CM’s invitation.
Without confirming if the BJP would accept the CM’s invitation, Gupta said that before calling any all-party meeting, Kejriwal should answer why did he not intervene in the Supreme Court in this connection and why did he not meet the monitoring committee overseeing the sealing drive and find a solution.
The BJP leader asked why was the government not notifying the 351 roads for mixed land and commercial use even when it was approved by the lieutenant governor on February 8.
Tiwari, to whom the invite was sent, is out of the country, the party’s Delhi spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said.
Former commissioner of MCD KS Mehra said the parties can elicit a common way to solve the issue. “Since the Supreme Court stayed the amendments proposed in the master plan, now the DDA will have to convince that these proposed amendments will not, in anyway, pollute the environment. The authority will also have to highlight its benefit to various sections of the society,” Mehra said.