Kejriwal threatens to go on hunger strike against sealing drive
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday threatened to go on a hunger strike if the issues that led to the ongoing sealing drive were not resolved by March 31.
Kejriwal visited the Old Double Storey market in Lajpat Nagar IV where four policemen and two traders were injured on Thursday after the cops allegedly baton-charged businessmen protesting the sealing drive.
The chief minister said he would write to the Prime Minister on Saturday and meet the union minister for housing and urban affairs to resolve the matter.
“If by March 31 a solution to sealing is not found, then I will go on hunger strike. I insist all party leaders to put pressure on the Centre to bring an ordinance in Parliament so that the sealing drive could stop immediately in the city,” Kejriwal said while interacting with traders.
But Kejriwal’s announcement came as a surprise to his colleagues in the Delhi government. “The hunger strike decision was spontaneously taken by the CM at Amar Colony. He is already unwell with cough problems and fluctuating sugar levels,” said the media advisor to Kejriwal.
It is nearly after five years that Kejriwal has threatened to go on a hunger strike. In March, 2013, the Aam Aadmi Party convener had gone without food for 14 days to protest against over inflated power bills when the Congress ruled Delhi.
“Kejriwal takes insulin every evening to keep his sugar levels stabilised. After his previous hunger strike, doctors had warned him of taking any such step again as it would severely affect his health. We hope the sealing issue is resolved before March 31,” said a government spokesperson.
In his address, Kejriwal said a resolution will be tabled in the budget session of the Delhi Assembly, which begins from March 16. “The resolution, if passed, will be sent to the Centre for bringing an ordinance,” said Kejriwal.
The sealing drive had started in mid-December on the directions of the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee with the sealing of major shops and eateries in the Defence Colony market.
The civic authorities have been targeting commercial establishments for violation of civic norms or Master Plan of Delhi 2021, including misuse, converting residential complexes into commercial units and encroachment.
To provide relief to traders from sealing, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had last month approved changes in the master plan . The changes include bringing the floor area ratio in shop-cum-residence plots and complexes on a par with residential plots.
But on March 6, the court stayed these amendments and reprimanded the DDA and other agencies for not filing an affidavit about the impact of these amendments on the environment, traffic, congestion and other safety aspects.
During the CM’s visit to Lajpat Nagar, agitated shopkeepers continued shouting slogans against the centre, the Delhi government and the MCD for their failure in getting a concrete solution to the issue.
Meanwhile, on the direction of Supreme Court appointed monitoring committee, 33 shops were sealed in North, 39 in east and one in South Delhi Municipal Corporation were sealed.