Sujay Mehdudia

Show cause notices to top leaders for illegal constuctions

Those who have received notices are Sheila Dikshit, her son Sandeep Dikshit, DPCC chief Ram Babu Sharma, Ministers and a host of MLAsThe development, a result of intra-party struggle going on for a long time, will now take the ball right into the court of the party high command

NEW DELHI: The Congress leadership in the Capital has been thrown into turmoil with Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, her son Sandeep Dikshit, DPCC president Ram Babu Sharma, members of the Council of Ministers and a host of MLAs getting "show cause" notices from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for unauthorised constructions on their premises. The latest turn of events is described by political observers as a setback to Ms. Dikshit who had maintained all along that everything was according to sanctioned plan.

Highly placed sources said while other political leaders had been served notices under Section 344 asking for information about their unauthorised portion, both Ms. Dikshit and her son have been served notices under Section 343 for unauthorised premises and asking why the same should not be demolished. The development, a result of intra-party struggle going on for a long time, will now take the ball right into the court of the party high command.

Observers feel that in view of the heightened tension between the Delhi Congress and the Government and the failure of Ms. Dikshit and her bete noire, Mr. Ram Babu Sharma, to narrow down their differences and put up a united front, there is no alternative for the party high command but to intervene in the matter as the entire set of developments during the last few months have hurt the image of the Congress party in the Capital.

"Things are slowly going out of hand in Delhi. It is not any individual or a faction but the party is getting damaged in the whole process. The rising resentment in the rural areas against demolitions also does not augur well for the Congress and remedial measures need to be put in place immediately,'' remarked a senior Minister.

While Ms. Dikshit had maintained all along that she had done no wrong and everything was in conformity with the building by-laws and sanctioned plans, the Corporation has sought to serve a notice to her asking why demolition should not be carried out at her premises for violation of building by-laws. "The same report would be put before the Delhi High Court when the case comes up for hearing on January 31. If the Court issues directions to pursue the notices in letter and spirit, then it would certainly make things difficult for the Chief Minister,'' a senior party leader remarked.

As for her Ministers and other MLAs, the MCD has only given them notices seeking information on unauthorised constructions on their premises and a reply within three days.

As news of the "notices'' to Ms. Dikshit and her son spread, murmurs within the Congress party gained momentum that it would be very difficult for the high command now to ignore these developments and at the same time for Ms. Dikshit to defend herself. The Chief Minister is at present in Davos, Switzerland, attending the World Economic Forum Summit and only after she returns here on January 30 will her position be known. However, the Chief Minister will have to put up her defence before the case comes up for hearing on January 31 or things could take a turn for the worse.

More In: NEW DELHI | NATIONAL