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BJP tickets for controversial builders

The nomination of two controversial builders to contest the assembly elections on BJP tickets has triggered resentment among party workers.

india Updated: Nov 12, 2003 14:26 IST

The nomination of two controversial builders to contest the assembly elections on BJP tickets has triggered resentment among party workers. Ashok Aggarwal, the Chandni Chowk realtor best known for the Kumar cinema scandal, has got the ticket for Model Town. Dharambir Sharma, belonging to a builders' family, will contest from Chandni Chowk.

Asked if the nomination of builders — essentially moneybags with little popular support — wouldn't affect the party's prospects in an election the BJP is fighting with its back to the wall, senior leader VK Malhotra said Aggarwal and Sharma had qualified by virtue of being "party workers".

"They may belong to builders’ families, but they are party workers," Malhotra said. Aggarwal, he said, was general secretary of the BJP's Sadar Bazar district and in-charge of its media cell; Sharma has been a district and Yuva Morcha chief.

Aggarwal, one of the two prominent builders in Chandni Chowk, is believed to own several unauthorised markets in the walled city, 200-odd shops in Katra Baburam, and many unauthorised buildings in Bhagirath Palace, Katra Lachhu Singh, Chah Indara and surrounding areas. His family owns over a dozen guest houses in Chandni Chowk and Paharganj.

The most recent building with which Aggarwal's name has been linked is 1 Dewan Hall, where the MCD's building department sealed seven illegal shops a fortnight ago. MCD city zone officials said they were under great pressure to take the heat off Aggarwal. Officials say the builder — chief organiser of the Luv Kush Ramlila Committee — is well connected in the bureaucracy.

When the conversion of Kumar cinema into a commercial building was first reported in the Hindustan Times, Aggarwal had said he would make it into a hi-tech cineplex like PVR. Two years on, there's no sign of the cineplex; however more than 10 illegal shops have sprouted along one side of the renovated building.

BJP list: The names of Ashok Aggarwal (Model Town), Surya Prakash (Kamla Nagar), Rajendra Gupta (Timarpur) were announced on Tuesday.

First Published: Nov 12, 2003 14:26 IST