Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena on Monday wrote a letter to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, criticising him and his government for being absent from Raj Ghat and Vijay Ghat on Sunday, on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri.
“It is with a deep sense of pain, regret and disappointment that I draw your attention towards the utter disregard displayed by you and the Government headed by you towards the commemoration of Gandhi Jayanti and the Jayanti of Bharat Ratna, Lal Bahadur Shastri Ji yesterday. I am constrained to mention that neither you, nor any of your Ministers were present at Raj Ghat or Vijay Ghat yesterday, even as the Hon’ble President of India, Hon’ble Vice President, Hon’ble Prime Minister, Hon’ble Speaker of Lok Sabha and a host of other top political leaders of all parties, representatives of foreign missions in India and common residents of Delhi, humbly gathered to pay homage to Bapu and Shastri Ji. While the Dy Chief Minister (Manish Sisodia) was perfunctorily present there for a few minutes, he did not deem the occasion fit enough for him to stay the course,” he wrote.
“What makes this absence all the more unacceptable and appalling is the fact that Hon’ble President of India and Hon’ble Vice President of India were duly invited for the program atier approval from the Chief Minister, and the Dy Chief Minister and Minister In-charge of General Administration Dept (GAD), GNCTD, were in loop, having initiated and approved the proposal for the same, as the file went up to the Chief Minister. Moreover, in accepting the invite from the Delhi Government, the President’s Secretariat had clearly apprised the Chief Minister through his Addl Secretary, that it was expected of the Chief Minister to be present at the program and receive the Hon’ble President at Vijay Ghat,” he wrote.
“Organising the Homage Function at Vijay Ghat, the Samadhi of Shastri Ji is officially under the charge and responsibility of Govt of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD). The General Administration Department (GAD), GNCTD organises the function and issues invitations thereof. The invitation cards for the program yesterday were issued in the name of the Chief Minister. However, you were absent from the program at Vijay Ghat and the Dy Chief Minister, who came there, left the venue without waiting for Hon’ble President to arrive. This is not only highly improper but prima facie amounts to deliberate breach of protocol indicative of disrespect and insult to the Hon’ble President of India – the highest Constitutional Authority of the Republic,” he wrote.
“You may be aware that, as per standard protocol and convention, Chief Minister (or in his absence Deputy Chief Minister) accompanies the Lt Governor to receive the dignitaries in such national functions. It is also customary that the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Delhi and his Cabinet colleagues are present at the functions during the visit of the Hon’ble President, Hon’ble Vice President and the Hon’ble Prime Minister on days of such National importance and historical essence,” he wrote. “You would be aware that Article 51A of Constitution envisages that. It shall be the duty of every citizen of India ‘to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions…’. Hon’ble President of India and Hon’ble Vice-President etc are the apex constitutional institutions of the nation and showing respect to such institutions is fundamental duty of every citizen. As host to yesterday’s function at Vijay Ghat, it was incumbent upon the Government of Delhi, as representative of public, to remain present to receive the dignitaries and see them off at departure. Prima- facie, it appears to me a serious breach of protocol and deliberate disrespect.”
“It was also shocking to see the general apathy in maintenance and basic upkeep (of Vijay Ghat). Right opposite to the Samadhi gate, there was garbage and C&D waste strewn and basic cleanliness compromised. This again, was reflective of utter disrespect of one of our most respected leaders and an insult to his memory,” he wrote.
“CM has always attended Gandhi Jayanti and Lal Bahadur Shastri Jayanti programs in last several years. CM was in Gujarat on that day and that’s why he could not attend the program. It is important to understand the reason for LG’s letter. CM addressed a very massive rally in tribal area of Gujarat against empty chairs in PM’s program in Ahmedabad just two days back. The PM is livid. This letter has been written by LG on PM’s instructions,” a statement tweeted by AAP MLA Atishi read.