The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday alleged the BJP-ruled North Delhi Municipal Corporation wants to hand over the functioning of weekly markets to private contractors and said it will lead to thousands losing their livelihood. The allegation was, however, refuted by the Chairman of a Standing Committee in the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) Jogi Ram Jain, saying the civic body has not assigned the task of collecting fees from weekly markets to private firms and neither was it being considered.
Delhi BJP Spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor termed the AAP's claims misleading. In a statement, AAP leader Durgesh Pathak claimed the BJP-ruled civic body was set to hand over operations of weekly markets to private firms.
"Thousands of poor people will lose their jobs due to weekly markets going into private hands. Private mafia will get their own people to set up shops encouraging corruption in the system.
"The AAP will oppose this proposal in the upcoming standing committee meeting. If this resolution is passed, then the AAP will take to the streets and protest," he said.
In reply, Jain, the chairman of the standing committee, alleged that the AAP always does "politics of lies" and its members "always accuse others, without checking facts".
He accused the AAP of making false allegations against the NDMC to "fulfil its political ambitions and gain an advantage in the municipal elections due next year.
"The NDMC has not given the task of collecting fees from weekly markets to private firms and neither it is being considered," Jain said.
Also, a senior official, when contacted, said the proposal was brought in the meeting of the standing committee in early July, but the matter was postponed.
"How can a party make an allegation about something which is yet to be even considered. Also, it may not be brought to the committee at all. The allegations of AAP are baseless," he said.
Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor claimed that small shopkeepers at the weekly markets were impressed by the effort of Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta to get permission for their markets to reopen.
Due to this, the AAP is frustrated and are therefore trying to mislead the shopkeepers, he claimed.
"Under the leadership of Adesh Gupta, the Delhi BJP and the three corporations are committed to ensuring the best livelihood for small shopkeepers of weekly markets.
"These will not be privatized till the BJP is in power in civic bodies. These markets are operated by shopkeepers themselves and it will remain so in the future. The BJP will not allow discussion on any proposal brought by officers in this context," he added.