New Delhi: Describing the anti-encroachment drive in Delhi as the “biggest destruction” in Independent India, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Monday slammed the BJP, saying neither the AAP nor the people of Delhi will “tolerate” 63 lakh people being rendered homeless in the city through the exercise.
He also accused the BJP of “misusing” power and questioned the moral, constitutional and legal authority of the saffron party-ruled civic bodies to launch such a large-scale drive at the fag end of their terms.
“Delhi has not developed as a planned city. More than 80 per cent of Delhi can be called illegal and encroached upon. Does that mean you will destroy 80 per cent of Delhi?” he asked.
In a virtual address after holding a meeting with AAP MLAs on the issue, he demanded the deferred municipal corporation polls be held now to elect new civic bodies that can take a decision on the matter.
“You will make 63 lakh people homeless and spoil their daily lives by bulldozing their houses and shops. It will be the biggest destruction in independent India. Nobody is going to tolerate it,” the AAP national convener said, attacking the BJP.
“Now when just two days are left before your (BJP-ruled civic bodies) term ends, do you have any moral, legal and constitutional power to take such a big decision? Conduct the elections. Let the new MCD (civic bodies) take decisions after the elections,” he added.
Exuding confidence in his party winning the polls, Kejriwal promised the AAP will solve the problem of illegal construction and encroachments in Delhi after coming at helm of affairs in the city’s municipal corporations and make Delhi “better and beautiful”.
If voted to power, he said, the AAP will regularise unauthorised colonies and give people living there ownership rights of their houses and “a life of dignity” to those settled in jhuggis (slums) by building houses for them.
“Those who have done some alterations that affect people or have captured roads that obstruct people’s movement will be given a chance and asked to remove (the unauthorised structures). Many people will do it. We have done this many times,” he added.
Kejriwal accused the BJP of indulging in “hooliganism” and “misusing” power, and asserted his party will continue to oppose the anti-encroachment drive.
“I held a meeting (with the AAP MLAs) and I have told them that you have to stand by people. Do not be afraid even if you have to go to the jail,” he said.
In a statement later, Kejriwal said, “We discourage illegal settlements and encroachments because we want our Delhi to flourish as a beautiful state. However, neither the Aam Aadmi Party, nor the people of Delhi will tolerate the BJP displacing 63 lakh people, destroying their livelihoods, and leaving them homeless.”
Kejriwal said his party does not favour encroachments but it is opposing the BJP-ruled civic bodies’ drive because of its scale and the way it is being conducted.
“Their plan is to demolish all unauthorised colonies where nearly 50 lakh people live. Their plan is to demolish all the Jhuggis where about 10 lakh people live. Besides, they have prepared a list of three lakh property owners who are said to have got constructions done by deviating from the map approved,” he said.
He said the way Delhi has developed and expanded over the last 75 years, more than 80 per cent of the city’s structures would fall under the category of unauthorised construction and encroachments.
Kejriwal said the Aam Aadmi Party wants Delhi to look beautiful, but razing homes and shops of “63 lakh people” will not be tolerated.
“For the last 15 year, the BJP has been ruling the MCDs. What have they done so far? They let more and more encroachments happen, illegal construction done by allegedly taking bribes,” he charged.
“They are now reaching colonies with bulldozers and razing shop and houses. Even if people show them papers to prove that the structure is not illegal, they do not check them This goondagardi (hooliganism), misuse of power is not right,” Kejriwal added.
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