The BJP on Tuesday claimed that about Rs 45 crore was spent on the “beautification” of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s official residence in the city’s Civil Lines area and demanded his resignation on “moral” grounds.
While no official reaction was available from the Delhi government, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) hit back at the BJP.
Senior AAP leader Raghav Chadha said while speaking to Times Now that the chief minister’s residence was constructed 75-80 years ago in 1942. The Delhi government’s Public Works department (PWD), after an audit, had recommended its renovation.
A senior PWD official said, “It was not renovation and a new structure has come up in place of the old structure. His camp office is also there. The expenditure is around Rs 44 crore but what is to be noted that the old structures have been replaced with new ones.” Documents provided by sources showed that a total of Rs 44.78 crore against a sanctioned amount of Rs 43.70 crore was spent on “addition/alternation” of Kejriwal’s government accommodation on 6, Flagstaff Road in Civil Lines.
The money was spent in six tranches between September 9, 2020, to June, 2022, the documents showed.
According to the documents, the total expenditure included Rs 11.30 crore on interior decoration, Rs 6.02 crore on stone and marble flooring, Rs one crore on interior consultancy, Rs 2.58 crore on electrical fittings and appliances, Rs 2.85 crore on fire fighting system, Rs 1.41 crore on wardrobe and accessories fitting, and Rs 1.1 crore on kitchen appliances.
A separate amount of Rs 8.11 crore of the sanctioned amount of Rs 9.99 crore was spent on the camp office of the chief minister at his official residence, it showed.
Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva said in a statement that Rs 45 crore was spent on the “beautification” of Mr Kejriwal’s bungalow at a time when Delhi was battling COVID-19.
“Kejriwal should answer the people of Delhi about his moral authority with which he spent around Rs 45 crore on the beautification of his bungalow when most of the public development works were stalled during the Covid phase,” Mr Sachdeva said.
It has been established that Kejriwal does not live in a house but a “Sheesh Mahal” (in opulence), said the Delhi BJP president and asked the chief Minister to resign on “moral” grounds.
He said the 16-month period from September, 2020 to December, 2021 was the peak Covid phase when industrial activities were halted and Delhi government revenue had come down by to less than half, and it had stopped development projects citing a lack of funds, he said.
“In that critical phase Kejriwal’s splashing about Rs 45 crore on his house is a big proof of his insensitivity,” Mr Sachdeva alleged.
Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Ramvir Singh Bidhuri alleged that the “simplicity and honesty” of Mr Kejriwal has been “exposed” and he should immediately resign.
Mr Chadha, a Rajya Sabha MP of the AAP, however, fired back at the BJP over its allegations and said, “It is a government accommodation, it is not Arvind Kejriwal’s property.” “Unless you compare the expenditure on the Delhi CM’s residence with that of the PM’s residence and those of chief ministers in other states, how would you find whether it’s less or more?” Mr Chaddha said.
He also cited expenditures on the prime minister and chief ministers in BJP-governed states to defend the amount incurred on Mr Kejriwal’s official residence in Delhi.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)