New Delhi: Delhi BJP on Sunday launched an agitation demanding removal of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in the wake of a court ordering registration of an FIR against her for allegedly misusing government funds for a 2008 pre-Assembly poll advertisement campaign.
Scores of BJP workers took out a procession from BJP headquarters at 11, Ashoka Road towards Dikshit`s 3, Motilal Nehru Marg residence in central Delhi demanding immediate resignation of the 75-year-old chief minister.
Delhi Police used water cannons to disperse protestors.
When protestors tried to break barricades near Dikshit`s residence, police detained a number of them, including Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel and former chief of the party`s Delhi unit Vijender Gupta.
Earlier during the day, addressing a joint press conference, Goel and Gupta said the Chief Minister must resign as the issue was "very serious".
"Her continuation in this post is a gross violation of all norms and traditions of governance. Dikshit is the first Chief Minister of Delhi to have faced such serious charges," they said.
A city court had yesterday ordered registration of an FIR against Dikshit on a complaint filed by Gupta in which he alleged that she had misused government funds to the tune of Rs 22.56 crore in an advertisement campaign ahead of the 2008 Assembly polls.
"The Chief Minister must resign and if she is not ready to do so, Congress party must sack her. Her continuation is against the basic norms of governance.
"She has been clearly indicted by the Lokayukta for misuse of public funds and then the court put a stamp of approval on this by ordering registration of an FIR," Goel and Gupta said.
The two leaders said a delegation of Delhi BJP will meet President Pranab Mukherjee and Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to press for Dikshit`s sacking if she was not removed by her party within 24 hours.
Gupta said he had sought registration of an FIR against Dikshit and others for alleged criminal breach of trust (IPC Section 409), criminal misappropriation of public funds and criminal misconduct under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The Delhi Lokayukta had in May this year held Dikshit guilty of the allegations in question for misusing public funds on the advertisement campaign and recommended recovery of Rs 11 crore either from her or from her party.
Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin had even given a recommendation for President Pranab Mukherjee to "caution" Dikshit for the alleged misuse of public funds for the print and outdoor media campaign which bore the punchline, `Delhi is changing`.
The Lokayukta order had followed a complaint against Dikshit filed by Gupta.
"In fact, the Chief Minister has demeaned even the institution of Lokayukta as, when she was indicted by him in the case, she blatantly said that the Lokayukta had crossed his brief.
"But the court`s decision makes it clear that it was the Chief Minister who committed grave impropriety by misusing public funds," said Gupta.
Goel said if Delhi Lokayukta had sufficient powers, then the Chief Minister and her "corrupt cabinet colleagues" would not have gone scot-free.
"The BJP, after coming to power in Delhi, will ensure a stronger Lokayukta so that the high and the mighty are not allowed to run away with public money.
"Delhi BJP will formulate a new Lokayukta Act to ensure that," Goel said.
Both Gupta and Goel alleged that Delhi government had spent a whopping Rs 300 crore on an ongoing advertising campaign and said it again involves a similar misuse of public funds as had occurred in 2008.
"We demand a high level probe into the current advertising campaign," they said.