Kejriwal slams BJP on demolition drive

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressing press conference in New Delhi on Monday. (UNI)
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressing press conference in New Delhi on Monday. (UNI)

NEW DELHI, May 16:
Claiming that the ongoing anti-encroachment drive in Delhi will render 63 lakh people homeless, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Monday said it will be the “biggest destruction” in Independent India, and accused the BJP of “misusing” power.
He also questioned the moral, constitutional and legal authority of the BJP-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.
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. (PTI)