Amid the row over the appointment of 21 AAP MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Wednesday initiatives such as setting up ‘mohalla clinics’ and building new classrooms in schools were the result of “hard work” by these secretaries.
The chief minister gave an account of the work undertaken by the 21 Parliamentary Secretaries, who face possible disqualification after President Pranab Mukherjee withheld his assent to a Bill validating their appointments
“Our MLAs are diligent, qualified and educated. We have MBAs, doctors and engineers. They are not like the illiterates in other parties. So, when we have such a talent pool, we have to use it to serve the people. That is why they voted for us,” said Kejriwal at a press conference.
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The chief minister claimed the 21 Parliamentary Secretaries were the “eyes, ears and hands of the Delhi government”, who received no remuneration.
He added, “I would request (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji with folded hands. Modiji, your fight is against me. Aap mujhe maar lo, peet lo, kuch bhi kar lo lekin mere Delhi ke logon ko pareshaan mat karo (You may beat me up or do anything else but don’t harass my people of Delhi).”
“In the entire country, Delhi government is doing the best work… I would like to say to Narendra Modiji, you can have your revenge but please don’t stop the good work that it being done in Delhi,” said Kejriwal.
Pointing out that the Sheila Dikshit-led government had appointed Ajay Maken as Parliamentary Secretary, Kejriwal said, “Makenji, who is shouting from the rooftops now… he was assigned staff and he was approving their leaves.”
The Delhi government also released copies of orders issued by the erstwhile Congress and BJP governments to appoint parliamentary secretaries. “From 1953 to 2015, they were constitutional. But when the AAP appointed them, they became unconstitutional. These double standards will not do,” he said.
However, Maken, chief of the Congress’ Delhi unit, said Parliamentary Secretaries were appointed in accordance with the law and with prior permission of the Lt Governor. He added that the function of parliamentary secretaries is to assist the CM and as the Assembly meets for a limited number of days, “it does not justify appointing one-third of the party’s MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries.”