NEW DELHI: Countering Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s press conference where he requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to let municipal elections be held on time, Union Minister Smriti Irani lashed out at the Aam Aadmi Party chief and accused the government of withholding the funds “due” to the civic bodies as well as of purposely starving the corporations of Rs 13,000 crore, which was meant for paying salaries to employees and carrying out developmental works.
Irani along with Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta held a press conference at the party headquarters on Friday. She countered the CM’s claims of not letting civic polls to be held on time was “killing democracy”.
Irani said that for the past seven years, Kejriwal himself stopped the funds of sanitation workers just to cripple the civic bodies and not let them work. “By starving the civic bodies of funds, he is killing democracy at the very thrust of it. Today, Kejriwal held a presser on MCD polls delay in Delhi. Does he know that Nagar Nigam had sought reforms last year?” asked Irani.
She added, “A leader who gets less votes than NOTA in UP, loses deposit in 55/70 seats in Uttarakhand claims there’s AAP wave. He chose to attack the election commission and the electoral process that has been hailed across the world as free and fair.”
Soon after Irani’s presser, senior AAP leader and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia responded to Irani’s allegations. Calling it a “joke”, Sisodia said that Irani gave a childish reason to withhold elections that the Delhi government doesn’t pay adequate funds to the municipal corporations. “Delhi government has always released funds on time. The scarcity of funds in MCD is due to the corruption by BJP leaders in power there. Irani must tell why and how the BJP threatened the Delhi EC for postponing MCD elections” he added.
“I wish to say three things to Smriti Irani. Firstly stop crying like Congress people over not getting funds. The BJP was given 15 years of opportunity but they did not do anything for the city. Secondly, Irani is a resident of Delhi. She should roam around the city to see for herself how the BJP has treated the city. Lastly, the country should know how the BJP and the central government pressurized the EC to withhold elections.” Delhi BJP chief Gupta also attacking Kejriwal said that the Chief Minister questioning the central government whether it is threatening the election commission with ED or other agencies is the language of an “anarchist”.