On a day when thousands of shops across the city were shut to protest against an ongoing sealing drive in the city, AAP and Congress said that an all-party delegation will meet a Supreme Court-appointed Monitoring Committee to find a solution to the drive.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken on Tuesday made separate statements on the issue after a meeting with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other Delhi ministers at the CM’s residence.
The sealing drive — being carried out by the three BJP-led city municipal corporations under the guidance of the Monitoring Committee — has been launched against the business establishments using residential properties for commercial purposes and the ones which have not paid conversion charges.
Addressing the media separately, Sisodia and Maken also attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for not taking part in the meeting, despite an invitation from Kejriwal.
“It’s very sad that BJP did not come for the meeting but does politics on the issue,” Sisodia said.
He said that another meeting would be called on the issue of sealing if the BJP is willing to attend it. “The BJP can resolve the issue in a day if they want to.”
Sisodia also said that the BJP does not want to find a solution to the sealing drive.
“BJP wants to make way for FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) through the sealing drive,” Sisodia said and added that the drive is being done with the support of BJP.
Both leaders said that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Congress MPs will also raise the issue in Parliament.
Maken said the Delhi government has not met the Monitoring Committee since the sealing drive began and added that Kejriwal has also agreed for a meeting with the parliamentary panel.
Health Minister Satyendar Jain and Development Minister Gopal Rai were among others who attended the meeting on Tuesday afternoon.
Later in the day, Congress President Rahul Gandhi attacked both AAP and BJP over the sealing drive.
“Stop the drama of allegations and counter-allegations over sealing in Delhi. Due to BJP-AAP collusion and fake fights, traders are facing a lot of difficulties,” the Congress President said in a tweet.
He also said that both parties should work together to find a solution to the issue.
Responding to Gandhi, Kejriwal asked him to raise the issue in Parliament and offered all support from AAP.
Meanwhile, the protesting traders called the all-party meeting convened by Kejriwal a “political stunt” and they adopted a resolution to demand that the Kejriwal government pass a bill in the assembly to put an end to the drive.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said that over seven lakh shops in 2,500 markets across the city were shut on Tuesday.
Traders also took out protest marches in various markets, including Connaught Place, Chandni Chowk, Sadar Bazar, Chawri Bazar, Kamla Nagar, Karol Bagh and Kashmere Gate.
On March 28, a traders’ rally would be held at Ramlila Maidan here against the sealing drive which, the CAIT said, is in “utter violation” of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi Act, 1957.
The business losses due to Tuesday’s bandh were estimated at Rs 1,800 crore, with the revenue loss to government pegged at about Rs 150 crore, CAIT said.
The Monitoring Committee was set up by the Supreme Court in 2006. In 2012, the apex court asked the committee to halt the drive. But, in December 2017, it ordered resumption of the drive.