NEW DELHI: As the political brouhaha over the demolition drive in Jahangirpuri continues, the AAP on Friday accused Delhi BJP councillors of demanding bribe from city residents after their party's chief Adesh Gupta asked the mayors of south and east civic bodies to remove illegal encroachments by using bulldozers.
Senior AAP leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia called the development "truth of the BJP's bulldozer politics" and gave a call to his party MLAs to firmly stand by the people who are being "intimidated, blackmailed and threatened" by the saffron party councillors.
"Many such complaints are coming from all over Delhi. People of Delhi will not tolerate this type of blatant extortion and hooliganism," Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a tweet.
"Is that why the MCD elections have been postponed?" he asked.
Sisodia appealed to his party MLAs to stand against the BJP's "extortion drive".
"I appeal to all AAP MLAs to stand against this extortion drive being run by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Tell people everywhere in your area that the Delhi government and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are standing with the people," he said in a letter to his party legislators.
"If such a case comes to the notice of any MLA, help the people, immediately catch the extortionists of the BJP and hand them over to police. Immediately bring such cases to the notice of the government as well," he added.
In a statement, the minister also claimed that the "real reason behind BJP's bulldozer politics is their lust for money".
After several concrete and temporary structures close to a mosque were demolished in violence-hit Jahangirpuri in northwest Delhi on Wednesday as part of the north corporation's "anti-encroachment drive", Delhi BJP chief Gupta had written to mayors of south and east corporations, asking them to remove illegal encroachments using bulldozers in their areas as well.
In separate letters to the two mayors, he had also alleged that anti-social elements had encroached the government land at several locations in south and east civic bodies' areas "because they enjoy protection of local MLAs and AAP leaders".
Chaotic scenes had unfolded in Jahangirpuri on Wednesday when roadside stalls and shops allegedly built on public land were pulled down by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) in the presence of huge contingents of police and paramilitary, triggering recrimination among political parties before the apex court pressed the pause button.
The ruling AAP in Delhi alleged that Gupta's letter to the mayors was "a well-planned scheme to extort money from the people of Delhi as much as possible before the term of the three municipal corporations".
"There is no mention of Rohingiyas and Bangladeshis in his letter while he is talking about them. It is a well planned scheme of the BJP," AAP chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj told reporters.
AAP's Kalkaji MLA Atishi alleged that while the BJP leaders allowed "all illegal constructions and encroachments" come up in Delhi after taking bribe from people, with the saffron party ruling all the three civic bodies for last 15 years, they are now reaching out to the people once again byn threatening that the illegal structures will be demolished if they do not give money.
"They are doing this to fill their pockets as much as possible because this is their last chance. The term of the elected civic bodies will expire by May 18," she added.