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Congress, BJP join hands over sealing issue in the Capital

Sujay Mehdudia

Desperation, confusion in Congress camp in dealing with the crisis



SOME RAY OF HOPE: Traders' delegation calling on Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Ram Babu Sharma over the sealing issue on Thursday .— PHOTO: SANDEEP SAXENA

NEW DELHI: It might sound incredible, but the ruling Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party have joined hands in Delhi to agitate against the Congress-led Delhi and Central governments. The surprise action of the Congress' Delhi unit is seen by political observers here as a measure of sheer desperation in the Congress camp and confusion in its leaders' minds in dealing with a serious situation that involves displacement and livelihood of lakhs of people.

Many eyebrows have been raised over the reported decision of the Congress party to support the three-day "Delhi bandh" call issued by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) and the manner in which it has tried to deal with the issue of sealing and demolitions in the Capital. Political observers point out that CAIT is dominated by BJP supporters and has the complete backing of the BJP for the upcoming Delhi bandh, which has been called "to protest the failure of the Delhi and Union Governments to come out with a relief package for the lakhs of traders, particularly the 45,000-odd traders who face sealing from November 1".

"The Congress should not be seen supporting a cause that is promoted by the BJP or its supporters. It will prove to be disastrous for the party. We should not have supported the call for a bandh against our own Government,'' said a senior Congress leader here on Thursday.

According to political observers, the most shocking part of the whole situation is that instead of approaching its own Central Government or Congress president Sonia Gandhi to plead the case for relief, the Congress delegations led by DPCC president Ram Babu Sharma and a handful of MPs met the Supreme Court-appointed Monitoring Committee on Wednesday and Delhi Lieutenant-Governor B.L. Joshi on Thursday.

Many Congressmen feel that Mr. Sharma has fallen prey into the hands of wrong elements in the party and is suddenly taking on the Union Ministry for Urban Development knowing fully well that this is not the correct line of action for the ruling party in the Capital and would only help the Chief Minister.

Mr. Sharma was scheduled to meet Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit late on Thursday evening at her residence over the same issue despite a clear decision taken by the Coordination Committee of the Congress headed by party general secretary Ashok Gehlot that everything possible would be done to provide relief to the beleaguered traders and even a Constitutional amendment was one of the options.

For his part, Mr. Ram Babu Sharma maintained that by opting to support the three-day bandh from October 30 he was extending support to the cause of the traders, their families and lakhs of workers who stand to lose their livelihood due to sealing and demolitions.

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