The Delhi Chief Secretary has been asked to “explain” his absence at the birth anniversary celebrations of Lal Bahadur Shastri at Vijay Ghat by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. An aide of the chief minister said that Kejriwal is “unhappy” over the absence of MM Kutty at the event, which was attended by the President and the Prime Minister, organised by the Delhi government’s Art, Culture and Language Department. He claimed many bureaucrats other than Kutty also skipped the event. “The chief minister is miffed over the casualty with which the officials treated a national-level event like this,” the aide said.
Calls and messages to Kutty elicited no response. President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia paid floral tributes to former Prime Minister Shastri on the occasion. The Kejriwal dispensation and the bureaucracy have always shared an uneasy relationship, marked by frequent sparrings, primarily due to the city’s complex administrative structure in which the Lt Governor enjoys primacy.
There has been an instance when officers went on mass leave to protest the decision of the AAP government to suspend two DANICS-cadre (Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service) officials in 2015.