The sealing drive in west Delhi’s Mayapuri on Saturday snowballed into a political controversy with chief minister Arvind Kejriwal using the issue to push for full statehood for Delhi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) blaming the city administration for conducting the drive on Ram Navami and Baisakhi.

Reacting to videos, purportedly showing clashes between police officials and people at Mayapuri, Kejriwal alleged Delhi Police beat up traders and locals.

“It is extremely shameful citizens are being treated in this manner by the Centre. The trader community has always supported the BJP with money as well as with votes. But in return, the Centre-led police brutally beat up the traders, sending a clear message that they do not want the community’s support in the upcoming polls,” he said.

The Delhi police said it was the local administration that carried out the drive and that the
police were only protecting officials and maintaining law and order.

Referring to Saturday’s event, Kejriwal, who is also the convener of the Aam Aadmi Party, asked people to vote for his party in the Lok Sabha elections. Delhi will vote on May 12.

“Had Delhi been a full state, we would have stopped the sealing drive in 24 hours. The Centre has been unfair to traders. I appeal to Delhi’s traders to take revenge of today’s lathi charge. This time vote for the broom (AAP’s election symbol) so that sealing never happens in Delhi again,” he tweeted in Hindi.

Traders are already peeved with the ongoing sealing drive against commercial establishments over the past one-and-a-half years. Fearing this drive would backfire on the BJP again, the party was quick to put the blame on the Kejriwal-led Delhi government. Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said the timing of the drive made the action look like a “conspiracy”.

“We have written a letter to the Election Commission of India, requesting that sealing in Delhi be stopped till the completion of the Lok Sabha elections. It needs to stop because this is a violation of the model code of conduct according to Article 324 of the Constitution. The sealing order was issued by CM Kejriwal to defame the BJP and help AAP in the general elections. Moreover, they carried out the drive on a festival,” Tiwari said.

The Congress blamed the Centre and the BJP-ruled South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC). “The Centre and MCD were hand in glove in conducting the sealing drive in Mayapuri. The lathi-charge on the people of the area is inhuman. The Congress condemns this act,” said Delhi
Congress chief Sheila

Leader of opposition in the Delhi Assembly and BJP MLA from Rohini Vijender Gupta said Saturday’s drive was carried out by the sub-divisional magistrate of the area, who reports to the Delhi government.

Terming the incident as “horrific”, the AAP drew a comparison with the Jallianwallah Bagh massacre that took place on April 13, 1919.

“Horrifying!!! General Dyer Modi’s police brutally pelting stones on the citizens in Mayapuri, Delhi,” the AAP
tweeted while sharing a video clip, purportedly showing the incident.

First Published:
Apr 14, 2019 05:45 IST

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