New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday termed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government's decision to halt the eviction of street vendors until Diwali as "politically-motivated" and sought full implementation of the Street Vendors' Act, 2014.
Delhi Congress workers demonstrated at 13 places in the national capital -- outside all the 12 zonal offices of the Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCDs) and the headquarters of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC).
"Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's statement that no street vendor would be evicted until Diwali is politically-motivated," Delhi Congress unit chief Ajay Maken said.
The Congress leader also claimed that the AAP did not fulfil its poll promises. He said: "Despite Kejriwal government being in power in Delhi for over the past 18 months, it has not fully implemented the Street Vendors Act, 2014."
The Congress leader's remarks came after the Delhi government ordered its Urban Development Department and the three civic bodies in the national capital not to take any "coercive" action against street vendors during the festival season.
According to the Street Vendors' (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, the rule had to be framed within six months for the settlement of the street vendors, and within one year a scheme was to be prepared for the implementation of the Act.
Maken also charged that the government did not provide lawyers in the Delhi High Court for protection of the rights of the street vendors.
"When I filed a PIL in the Delhi High Court for the protection of the rights of the street vendors, no lawyer of the Delhi government endorsed his PIL, instead worked shoulder-to-shoulder with the lawyers of the BJP-ruled MCDs, to oppose the street vendors," he alleged.
Attacking both AAP and BJP, Maken said: "When the court was hearing my PIL on street vendors, they were asked as to why they did not come out with a scheme for the full implementation of the Street Vendors Act."
The Congress leader also said that in the Street Vendors Act, 2014, it has been made very clear that until the time a town vending committee is not constituted and until it does not conduct a survey, no street vendor would be evicted.
Maken asserted, "Street vendors cannot be evicted even after Diwali, as they enjoy legal protection."
Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Sharmistha Mukherjee told IANS, "In most of the Congress-ruled states, it has been fully implemented. But, in Delhi, in spite of Kejriwal making tall promises, after forming the government no step was taken by them."
"Today we protested in all the 13 zones with the street vendors to ensure that we are with them for their rights," she said, adding: "We will ensure that this Act is ratified by the state government."