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63 lakh people could be displaced if ‘BJP bulldozers’ keep running: Arvind Kejriwal on Delhi demolition drive

Calling it the “biggest demolition in independent India”, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday came down heavily on the BJP-led New Delhi Municipal Corporation’s anti-encroachment drive. Claiming that almost 80 per cent of Delhi will be razed to the ground if “BJP bulldozers” are kept running, Kejriwal said that he has advised all the legislators of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to stand up against this “gundagardi.”

“In the last few weeks, we have seen that the BJP-led MCD is running bulldozers and it’s being said that it will continue for the next months. They’re saying they will remove all encroachments, and illegal constructions in Delhi. We are also against encroachments, we don’t want illegal constructions,” he said addressing a virtual press conference.

“In the last 75 years, Delhi has not been made in a planned way. More than 80 per cent of Delhi will come under the bracket of illegal construction or encroachment. The question then arises, will 80 per cent of Delhi be demolished?”, asked Kejriwal.

“Why are you running bulldozers over people? We will fix Delhi. Like we have worked on education, health, water, and electricity, similarly, we will fix encroachments too. But to demolish homes and shops by running bulldozers over them is not right. We vehemently protest this,” Kejriwal further added.

The Delhi Chief Minister also questioned the manner in which the structures were being demolished. “Papers are not being shown, nobody is being given a chance. They just take bulldozers and reach any colony and start breaking anybody’s home or shop. That man is standing with papers in his hand, screaming, pleading for mercy and asking that his papers be considered. But nobody is checking his papers, only bulldozers are being run. This is not right. We are against the way they are removing the encroachments and the scale of their planning,” he said.

“Their plan is to break all unauthorised colonies in Delhi where around 50 lakh people stay. They also plan to break down all the jhuggies (slums) where around 10 lakh people stay. Apart from this, they have made a list of three lakh properties where people have gone beyond the map, and added a balcony or an extra room. Bulldozers will run over 63 lakh people. I believe this will be the biggest demolition in Independent India. This is not right,” said Kejriwal.

Taking a dig at BJP’s poll promise of constructing houses in unautorized colonies, Kejriwal said, “Before the elections, they had said they will make houses where there are jhuggis. And now after the elections, they have come to demolish them all”.

“In the last 15 years, BJP has ruled MCD. In the last 15 years, they made more illegal encroachments and buildings and there are allegations that they took money for these. Now when their term is over – their term ends on May 18, it’s May 16 today, and only two days are left. Do they have the constitutional and legal power to take such a big decision?” he said.

Kejriwal said that the new MCD should take these decisions after the municipal polls are conducted, while assuring people that his administration will look at regularising all the unauthorized colonies. “We assure the people of Delhi that we will solve the issue of encroachments, regularise unauthorised colonies and make them clean… We are making houses for those living in jhuggis. It’s taking time,” said Kejriwal.