Causing further embarrassment to a party already in crisis, AAP MLA Naresh Balyan Friday said at a public meeting that bureaucrats who delay files or refuse to work, deserve to be thrashed. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam were at the same meeting.
Even as the AAP was quick to condemn his remarks, made just hours after police searched Kejriwal’s house in connection with the alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, Balyan told The Indian Express that he stood by his statement.
“Officer file pass karne main samay laga rahe hain. Kyun? Kyunki jo commission thi, woh saari setting Dilli ke mukhyamantri ne band kar di. Ab vo cheez band hone se, files ko rokna shuru kar diya. Abhi jo Chief Secretary ke sath hua, jo inhone jhootha aarop lagaya, main to keh raha hun aise adhikariyo ko maarna chahiye, thokna chahiye. (Officers take a lot of time to process files. Why? Because the Chief Minister has stopped the ‘setting’ officers were doing for ‘commission’.
Because this has stopped, they have stopped files. What has happened with the Chief Secretary, the false allegations they levelled, I say such officers should be thrashed and assaulted).”
“Sahi hai ki nahi. Jo aam aadmi ke kaam rok ke baithe hain aise adhikariyo ke sath yahi salook hona chahiye (Is it right or not? Let them try and stop any files related to ‘aam aadmi’. This is the treatment that should be meted out),” he said in his speech.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Balyan said, “Hundreds of people were turning up at my office as they were not getting rations after linking it to Aadhaar. The government wants to change that but officers are not agreeing. I said that if officers stall such work, they deserve to be beaten up and public will beat them up.”
AAP leader and spokesperson Atishi Marlena, said, “I strongly condemn the statement made by Naresh Balyan. All government officers need to be treated respectfully. The AAP government believes in working in collaboration with them for Delhi’s development.”
At a press conference held at Kejriwal’s residence Friday evening, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia did not take questions about Balyan. “The fact that Arvind (Kejriwal) was present for the meeting made it more problematic. It was a very foolish thing to say under the circumstances and after the meeting he was pulled up by Kejriwal,” said a senior party leader.
Though the party condemned the statement, senior AAP leaders said any action against Balyan was unlikely. An AAP leader said, “Right now the party is at a critical juncture because we are under siege. This is not time for the party to take action against one of their own. He has been reprimanded, that is enough for now.”
This is not the first time Balyan has embarrassed the party. In October 2016, Balyan was arrested on charges of assault after former AAP volunteer and president of Mohan Garden Resident Welfare Association (RWA), Henry George, had accused Balyan and his associate of assaulting and threatening him in a complaint to police.
In the run up to the 2015 Assembly elections, he was embroiled in a case of liquor being seized from near his residence.