The Delhi Chief Electoral Officer Monday sealed a room at the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) office in Narela, which had letters addressed to individual voters by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, enlisting the achievements of the AAP government and seeking their “blessings and well wishes” to be able to carry on the work.
Delhi CEO Ranbir Singh told The Indian Express that he received a complaint from a BJP delegation that had come to meet him on Monday. The BJP has alleged that “more than 26 lakh” letters were being distributed along with water bills. The letters in question do not carry a date. Follow more election news here.
Kejriwal, who also holds the water ministry portfolio, is chairman of the DJB. “I had received a complaint from a delegation of the BJP which met me yesterday. The complaint was that the Chief Minister has written letters to the water connection holders by name. They had also enclosed a copy of the letter, as well as photographs of such letters lying in bulk in two DJB offices — one in Ashok Vihar and the other in Narela,” said Singh.
The delegation was led by Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta.
“After receiving that, I spoke to the Chief Executive Officer of DJB and told him that it is his responsibility to see that government machinery is not misused for political purposes as that will be an outright violation. If it happens in any department, the departmental head is responsible. I told him to pass the instructions down the line to ensure this kind of letter should not be distributed by anyone and that they should take hold of all the letters till the end of the elections,” he added.
Singh added that the flying squad, meant to enforce the poll code, also separately received information about the DJB letters in Narela. “They visited Narela office and found letters in bulk. They sought our instructions, so we asked them to seal the room where these letters were lying,” said Singh.
A DJB spokesperson said: “The chairman’s (Kejriwal’s) letter was cleared to be distributed among consumers through speed post in February. But after the MCC kicked in, we stopped distributing. Recently, a mini-van transporting the letters was apprehended by police and it was brought to the notice of the election office.”
The letter, signed by Kejriwal, lambasts past governments. “In merely four years, we have laid water pipelines in more than 400 colonies. The work we have done with regard to water and sewage in the last four years, past governments have not been able to do in the last 20-25 years,” it reads.
Earlier, similar letters, listing the government’s achievements in the field of education, were sent to parents of students studying in Delhi government schools.
Criticising the CM, Gupta said, “The notable cunning is that the letter mentions neither date nor dispatch number. This is gross violation of government rules as no letter can be sent without these particulars. But Kejriwal has cunningly tried to bypass this rule to escape CEC scrutiny.”
He added that the letters were “printed on the best quality paper on the CM’s letterhead with his seal”. “Spending so much money through public exchequer on political propaganda is a gross violation of MCC,” said Gupta. The AAP did not respond to calls and messages seeking a comment.