A day after Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung asked Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia to come back to Delhi immediately, in view of the chikungunya and dengue outbreak in the capital, two ministers of the AAP government went to the LG’s office Saturday but failed to meet him. The incident triggered another row between the AAP government and the LG, who have been at loggerheads over several issues.
While the LG’s office said the two ministers — Health Minister Satyendar Jain and Water Minister Kapil Mishra — had arrived without an appointment, and accused them of “politicising the issue”, Mishra claimed, “It appears he (Jung) is not in a mood to work today.”
“The LG had sent an urgent fax to the Deputy Chief Minister, so we thought there might be an emergency and we both came to meet him… but he is not in the office… it appears he is not in a mood to work today,” said Mishra.
The minister added, “We thought perhaps Jung Saheb has found some very good idea to fight the diseases, which he wanted to share with Sisodia. So we came running to meet him as we are working on Saturday and Sunday also”.
When asked why they had not sought an appointment with Jung first, Mishra said, “How could we take an appointment when the matter was so urgent that he had to send a fax to the Deputy CM urgently… we could not wait for the appointment…”
The minister also posted a video on Twitter, alleging that Jung has “blocked” his mobile number. “Watch how Delhi LG Saab has blocked the number of a Cabinet Minister. Why sir (sic),” tweeted Mishra. Meanwhile, Jain claimed he had called up Jung but the Lt Governor was not available for the meeting.
“I called his number but he is not available. When I asked him about his fax to Sisodia, he said he did not want to talk about it,” he said.
The health minister also tweeted, “Went to LG office. Asked on phone if anything urgent as he faxed yty to recall deputy CM. Ans: nothing urgent to discuss, no time today”.
Saying he was constantly in touch with Sisodia, Jain said, “… I met (Union Health Minister J P) Nadda ji as well. If the Lt Governor has any problems, he can meet me any time or call me… I am his neighbour,” he said. Jain alleged that the Lt Governor, who came back to Delhi earlier this week from the US, “had not cut his tour short even by half-an-hour”
However, in a strongly-worded statement, the LG’s office claimed that Jung got to know about the minister’s visit “through the media gathered outside, who had prior intimation that they were going to visit..”
The ministers came to the LG’s office “without either seeking prior appointment from the Lt Governor or intimating him of their visit,” said his office. “Secretary to Lt Governor met the Hon’ble Ministers since the Lt Governor’s office is operational on all days of the week. However, they neither submitted any letter nor gave any representation to the Lt Governor,” said the LG’s office, adding, ‘it is regrettable that at a time when Delhi is facing such a serious public health crisis, the elected government is choosing to politicise the issue instead of providing succour to the public.”
The LG’s office “is keeping a close watch on the health situation in Delhi and is getting regular updates…,” said the statement.
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On Friday, Jung had sent a fax to Sisodia, who is on an official trip to Finland, urging him to cut short his trip and come back to the capital, in view of the rise in vector-borne diseases in the capital.
On the directions of Jung, Chief Secretary K K Sharma had sent an urgent fax to the Deputy Chief Minister, saying “Your kind presence is required in the NCT of Delhi to deal with emergent administrative matters.” However, a senior government official said Sisodia “would return on Sunday, September 18, as per his schedule”.
Chief Minister Kejriwal is currently recuperating after undergoing throat surgery in Bengaluru earlier this week. Jain also claimed that Jung was yet to sign as many as 600 files pertaining to various departments of the Delhi government. “We are not the ones who sit on files for months. The LG should think about why it takes two months to clear files. There are about 600 files at the LG Secretariat, but he is not signing these files. If he signs 40-50 files every day, all files will be cleared in a few days, but he is not doing that,” said the minister.
What they said
* “The LG had sent an urgent fax to the Deputy CM, so we thought there might be an emergency and we came to meet him… but he is not in office… it appears he is not in a mood to work today” Kapil Mishra Water Minister
* “I called his number but he is not available. When I asked him about his fax to Sisodia, he said he did not want to talk about it” Satyendar Jain Health Minister
* “It is regrettable that at a time when Delhi is facing such a serious public health crisis, the elected government is choosing to politicise the issue instead of providing succour to the public” statement by the Lg’s Office
(With inputs from PTI)