New Delhi: The BJP on Saturday alleged the Delhi Waqf Board's decision to hike the salary of imams of the mosques in the national capital was in violation of the Model Code of Conduct and the move was aimed at "appeasing" the minority community.
BJP's Lok Sabha election co-in charge Jai Bhan Singh Pawaiya said while the Arvind Kejriwal government hiked the salaries of imams, same was not done to Hindu priests, which he termed as "discrimination".
Vijender Gupta, the Leader of the Opposition in Delhi Assembly, termed it "not only an open violation of Model Code of Conduct but also the illicit misuse of tax payers' money."
"Kejriwal, in connivance with Revenue minister Kailash Gehlot and MLA from Okhla, Amanatullah Khan, has hatched a criminal conspiracy to distribute crores of rupees to the imams and moazzins in the name of raising their honorarium, salary to influence polling ahead of the polls," he added.
However, AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said the Delhi Waqf Board, like its counterparts in other states, have been paying honorarium to imams appointed by them.
"The Waqf Board generates revenue from leasing its properties that are spread across the national capital," he said.
"Like any pension, salaries or honorarium, this amount is revised from time to time. This decision of revisiting the honorarium was taken long back before the Code of Conduct,” Bharadwaj claimed.
Khan, the Chairman of the Delhi Waqf Board, said the imams on Friday received cheques of Rs 18,000 while the moazzins have received enhanced honorarium of Rs 16,000.
Earlier, the Chief Electoral Officer of Delhi had sought a factual report from the revenue secretary over allegations that the Delhi Waqf Board increased honorarium for imams after the Model Code of Conduct for the Lok Sabha election came into effect.
"We have asked for a factual report from the Revenue Secretary. There has been a complaint and we have asked whether there has been such a measure undertaken by the Waqf Board during the Model Code of Conduct. A reply is awaited from them," an official had said.
Gupta claimed when the concerned officials of the Delhi government did not give their approval and raised objections in the matter, they were bypassed.
Gupta said he has also written a letter to the Lieutenant Governor, demanding action against the government.
"The Hindu voters had also given a massive mandate but he did not hike the salaries of the priests of Hindu temples who are also in poor condition,” Gupta said.
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Updated Date: Apr 28, 2019 15:17:25 IST