New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Wednesday reacted sharply to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s decision to hold a Covid-19 review meeting, amid the ongoing tussle between the Aam Aadmi Party government and the L-G over the distribution of powers in the national capital.
Within minutes of the L-G’s tweets on holding the meeting to review the Covid situation in Delhi and “future preparedness” with the chief secretary and other civil servants, CM Kejriwal responded strongly, saying the move was in violation of the constitution and a Supreme Court judgment.
Reviewed the COVID-19 situation in Delhi and future preparedness with Chief Secretary, ACS (Home&Health), Divisional Commissioner, Secretary (Health), MD-DMRC & other officials concerned. pic.twitter.com/2UKDjNAeJF
— LG Delhi (@LtGovDelhi) August 4, 2021
Kejriwal added that the L-G could ask the elected council of ministers if he has questions.
“It is against Constitution n SC CB judgement to hold such parallel meetings behind the back of elected govt. We r a democracy. People hv elected a Council of Ministers. If u have any Qs, pl ask ur ministers. Avoid holding direct meetings wid officers (sic),” said Kejriwal.
It is against Constitution n SC CB judgement to hold such parallel meetings behind the back of elected govt.
We r a democracy. People hv elected a Council of Ministers. If u have any Qs, pl ask ur ministers. Avoid holding direct meetings wid officers
Lets respect democracy, Sir https://t.co/SQCkHRNyt4
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) August 4, 2021
ThePrint reached the L-G’s office to know if there was any reason for keeping the council of ministers out of the meeting. However, there was no response until the time of publishing this report.
An official in the L-G’s office, though, told ThePrint that the “chief minister was always busy doing politics”.
“The CM is busy travelling to Punjab, Goa and other places… as if he cares about Delhi the way he should. So he is just doing this to grab headlines,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
This isn’t the first time that CM Arvind Kejriwal has been in disagreement with L-G Anil Baijal over the powers available to the Delhi government.
The tussle intensified after Parliament amended the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act and notified it in April this year. It is now mandatory for the elected Delhi government to seek the opinion of the L-G before taking any executive decision.
On 17 July, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia wrote a letter to the L-G, accusing him of taking decisions on matters under the elected government, and bypassing ministers to hold meetings with UT officials. The L-G on 22 July wrote a letter in response, saying “the insinuations and statements… are devoid of any merit and without any evidence”.
This came after the AAP and L-G weren’t in agreement over the choice of lawyers to represent Delhi in cases pertaining to the farmers’ protest.
A similar conflict had erupted last year over the choice of lawyers who would represent Delhi in cases pertaining to the communal violence that broke out in the national capital in February 2020.
The battle between the two is already in courts, with the Supreme Court yet to settle the contentious question of who has control over ‘services’ in Delhi.
(Edited by Amit Upadhyaya)