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AAP, BJP play blame game over Gahlot incident

The AAP and the BJP on Sunday traded charges over the alleged misbehaviour by a Minister with a senior officer last week, with the ruling party accusing the Opposition of protecting the corrupt, while the BJP accused the AAP of harassing officials.

The incident allegedly took place on August 3, when Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot had called a meeting with Transport Department and Delhi Transport Corporation officials. Transport Department officials alleged that Mr. Gahlot insulted Transport Secretary-cum-Commissioner Varsha Joshi during the meeting, while Mr. Gahlot denied the allegation.

AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj on Sunday said the meeting was called to discuss the answers to be given to MLAs’ questions in the Delhi Assembly. BJP MLA O.P. Sharma had asked whether Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had conducted an inspection of the Transport Authority office in Burari and found irregularities, he said.

Mr. Bharadwaj also said that Ms. Joshi had submitted a ‘no’ as the answer to the question and that was not accepted by Mr. Gahlot, as he along with the Chief Minister and other officers had inspected the Burari office and received complaints about touts. He said Mr. Kejriwal had in a memo ordered action to be taken against the officials involved.

“We want to ask the BJP if they are unaware of the corruption taking place at the Burari authority. Why is the Transport Commissioner protecting corruption? Why is the BJP patronising corruption at Burari?” Mr. Bharadwaj said.

Ms. Joshi said in a series of tweets on Sunday that the allegation of a Commissioner protecting touts was “laughable” and listed a range of efforts taken by the department to check corruption.

‘Anti-women’

The BJP hit out at the AAP government, with Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari accusing Mr. Kejriwal and the AAP of being “anti-women” and of “harassing” officials who speak up against corruption. “The truth of the matter is that Ms. Joshi is being harassed for seeking transparency in the proposed Rs. 2,500-crore bus deal, which Mr. Gahlot is trying to rush through,” Mr. Tiwari said.

With the Delhi Assembly session scheduled to start on Monday, Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta added that the BJP MLAs would raise the issue of the “humiliating treatment” of an officer by a Minister.

We want to ask the BJP if they are unaware of the corruption taking place at Burari authority. Why is the Transport Commissioner protecting corruption? Why is BJP patronising corruption…?

Saurabh Bharadwaj

AAP spokesperson

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