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In what could potentially break the tenuous calm between Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the office of Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, the CM has written to the L-G asking him “if it was appropriate that files marked by the L-G’s office reach the BJP before they reach (the) CM”.
The files in question pertain to the AAP government’s plan to reconstitute market committees of six major mandis — one each at Azadpur, Kesopur, Narela and three at Ghazipur. Government officials said the file was returned by the L-G’s office on Wednesday, with Baijal asking “if the nominations for members of the market committees were made as per rules”.
In his letter to the L-G, Kejriwal cites a newspaper report regarding a BJP press conference, wherein BJP MLA Vijender Gupta had accused the AAP government of not following norms while appointing members of market committees. Kejriwal, in his letter, said Gupta had called on the L-G’s office and demanded that the Delhi government’s proposal to reconstitute major mandis be “rejected”. The letter also cites a statement by Gupta, which maintains, “Committees are being formed in violation of rules which say that nominated members can only be agriculturalists — traders and qualified commission agents and weighmen.”
Kejriwal wrote, “Placed opposite is a paper cutting which says Vijender Gupta, BJP MLA, briefed media that the Hon’ble L-G has returned the file related to mandis back to the government… This file reached my office last evening, much after it reached the BJP (as) he already made statements in the media”.
“Does Hon’ble L-G think it is appropriate that copies of files marked by Hon’ble L-G to CM should reach the BJP before they reach (the) CM,” added Kejriwal.
Reacting to the content of the letter, Gupta on Thursday said, “I had written to the L-G on June 9, and on Wednesday, I met him to discuss the issue. How does it matter where the file reached first or if the L-G told me during the meeting that rules shouldn’t be flouted, and that my demand is being considered. The question is that wrongdoing shouldn’t take place, and as Leader of Opposition, it is my right to bring it up. In fact, I feel there should be a CBI inquiry into the appointments. On the one hand, they’re talking of holding farmer conventions, and then preventing farmers from having a say at the mandis. This is gross corruption.”
Although the relationship between Baijal and Kejriwal continues to be tense, officials maintained that it isn’t as strained as the one with former L-G Najeeb Jung. An AAP leader maintained, “Baijal’s style of functioning is very different. He is not as brazen as Jung.” Since the public spate between Jung and Kerjiwal, party sources maintained that they had altered their strategy of “dealing with the interference from the L-G office”. While neither Kejriwal nor Baijal commented on the letter officially, the party maintained that the L-G “seemed to have time for the BJP but not for AAP”.
Earlier this month, Kejriwal’s office was informed that L-G Baijal was busy and cannot meet him. After that, Kejriwal wrote a letter citing the “special session of the Assembly regarding the GST bill” for cancelling the “pre-scheduled weekly time”. He wrote, “My office was informed that you are very busy this week and will be able to meet me only next week.”
Previously, party spokesperson and Delhi MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj had also attacked the L-G indirectly.