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Kejriwal fires 'no house tax' salvo ahead of civic polls

With the aim of wooing voters ahead of the April 23 elections, Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Convener Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said that his party will abolish the house tax of residential properties and waive off outstanding if voted to power in the national Capital's civic bodies.

"The people of Delhi are reeling severely due to corruption in the BJP-ruled MCD as the house tax has become a major source of corruption. Money paid by Delhiites to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled corporations through taxes is being stolen by corrupt leaders and bureaucrats and the party (AAP) is determined to end such practices. The party promises to abolish the residential house tax and waive off tax arrears if it comes to power," said Kejriwal.

He vowed to transform the three civic bodies of the city into "profit-making" bodies. Two of the bodies — North Delhi Municipal Corporation and East Delhi Municipal Corporation — are currently grappling with financial losses.

"His party has delivered on most of its promises, including reducing electricity charges and providing free water of 20,000 litre. Regarding house tax abolition, the AAP has made all calculations," said the Delhi Chief Minister, adding that his party is preparing its detailed manifesto which will be released soon

Taking a dig at the ruling BJP, the chief minister said that its councillors used to be seen travelling on scooters before the previous MCD elections but are now zooming around in expensive cars. He also promised that AAP will ensure that municipal staffers get their salaries on time.

To a question on allegations by political rivals that AAP always announces freebies ahead of polls, Kejriwal said that the Delhi government is saving money on its projects which is then spent on public welfare. Notably, The residential house tax is an important source of revenue for civic bodies. Kejriwal added that the commercial house tax will continue to be in place.

Reacting to Kejriwal's promise, the BJP termed the announcement shameful. Criticising the announcement, Delhi BJP unit Chief Manoj Tiwari said in a statement, "It is shameful that he is saying that once his party wins civic elections, it will exempt residential properties from house tax. In the last two years, the Kejriwal government has several times written to the three civic bodies to levy and realise house taxes sternly, especially from those living in unauthorised colonies," Tiwari pointed out.
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