Kejriwal fumes after LG cancels AAP's office allotment, says 'they want to finish us'
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday that the cancellation of AAP's office allotment by Lt Governor Anil Baijal was part of a larger conspiracy to "finish" the party.
He said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is being "victimised" and "discriminated against" for taking on the ruling mafia and siding with the poor, and asserted the party is ready to operate from the "streets".
The office allotment to the AAP by the Kejriwal government was cancelled by the Delhi Lieutenant Governor on Friday after the Shunglu Committee pointed out "irregularities" in the allotment.
Kejriwal wondered why the Congress and the BJP, despite having negligible presence in the Delhi politics, have five and seven office spaces respectively, along with one plot each.
"This must be the first time in independent India that a ruling party is being denied office space in the state where it is in power.
Even RJD, BSP, ABVP, RSS have offices in Delhi," he told a press conference at his residence.
Kejriwal linked the cancellation to the AAP's promise of abolishing house tax if voted to power in the municipal corporations, which go to polls on April 23.
"They want to finish us, they want to close AAP. But it won't happen as we are on the path of truth. People will teach them a lesson in the polls.
"Having an office is our right. We are not seeking a favour. It was allotted legally. We will place a fresh demand for an office. People are already offering us space," he said.
Meanwhile, party functionaries discharged duties as usual from 206 Rouse Avenue, the office space in question. Sources said the party may move the court against the cancellation.
Baijal ordered cancellation of the office allotment stating it was made in "clear violation" of rules, as powers on land in the national capital are vested with the Centre.
Sources in the LG's office told PTI that Baijal had also sought opinion of the Public Works Department on the issue, which gave an opinion that the "accommodation was allotted violating the rules".
"The accommodation allotment to the AAP by the government was in clear violation of laid down rules as powers related to land in Delhi are vested with the Centre," a source said.
In November 2015, the AAP government had approved a policy for land allotment to state parties. The Kejriwal government then allotted a bungalow to the AAP on Rouse Avenue early last year. The bungalow was earlier allotted to Asim Ahmed Khan, the then Delhi Minister, who was sacked over graft charges.
The allotment of the accommodation was one of the "irregularities" pointed out by a three-member panel, headed by VK Shunglu, constituted by the then LG Najeeb Jung to examine files related to the decisions taken by the AAP government.
On March 29, Baijal had also directed the Delhi chief secretary to recover Rs 97 crore from the AAP for advertisements projecting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the party, allegedly in violation of the Supreme Court guidelines.
(With PTI inputs)