New Delhi: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Sunday said the Congress and BJP reactions now to AAP’s assurance to end house tax in Delhi are similar when his party promised free water and cheap electricity before the 2015 assembly polls.
“Before the assembly elections, they said it is not legally possible to reduce electricity tariff. They said the Delhi Jal Board will go broke if we gave away free water. Now they are saying the same thing about doing away with the house tax,” Sisodia told reporters here.
He said just like the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) fulfilled most of its poll promises, including slashing electricity tariff by half and providing free water to every household, after winning 67 of the 70 assembly seats in February 2015 polls, it would abolish tax on residential property if it came to power in the three municipal corporations.
The elections to 272 wards in three Municipal Corporations are slated to be held on April 23.
“(Delhi Chief Minister Arvind) Kejriwal-ji made the announcement only after detailed analysis. While the BJP backtracks from its promises and forgets about them after elections, we have either already fulfilled our promises or are working to fulfil them,” the Aam Aadmi Party leader said.
Sisodia said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress were worried about the move as they were running a tax collection racket and would lose out on commissions if the AAP implemented the move, “which will benefit lakhs of people”.
“Citizen of Delhi are happy with the announcement. The reason why the BJP and the Congress are so unhappy is that they are connected to a web of agents who extort money in the name of getting house tax bills settled and assessed,” he said.
On the opposition’s claim that the house tax could be abolished only after the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, is amended in Parliament, Sisodia said the municipal corporations were empowered to make amendments themselves.
“Before 1993, the amendments were made by Parliament. But afterwards, many amendments have been made and none was done by Parliament, both during the Congress and BJP rule,” he said.
Kejriwal on Saturday promised to abolish house tax if the AAP won the civic polls. He said tax on industrial and commercial premises will remain.
While BJP’s Delhi unit President Manoj Tiwari termed the announcement “shameful”, Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken said the AAP has not yet fulfilled its promises of “free Wi-Fi and marshals in Delhi Transport Corporation buses”.