New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday took a hard swipe at the Centre for its objections to the state Budget that delayed its presentation on the scheduled date.
He said the Centre’s attempt at “stopping” the Delhi Budget was an attack on the Constitution.
“They wanted me to bow down. It was their ego. There are uneducated people from top to bottom,” Kejriwal remarked in this latest row between Delhi and the central government.
Kejriwal was speaking at the Delhi Assembly where the Budget was to be presented Tuesday by new finance minister Kailash Gahlot.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had apparently objected to certain allocations in the Budget when it went for approval. MHA sources said Monday that the ministry sought clarification from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government as its Budget apparently had a higher outlay for advertisements than infrastructure and other development initiatives.
Kejriwal clarified this in the Assembly Tuesday, saying, “In the Budget, Rs 20,000 crore was allocated for infrastructure, Rs 500 crore for advertisement. We never heard that 500 is more than 20,000… They have kept a group of uneducated people from top to bottom.”
The chief minister also said he wanted to work and not fight, because “that serves no one”. “Delhi would have seen ten times more progress had there been no tussle,” he said, adding, “If PM Modi wishes to win Delhi, he will have to win the hearts of the city’s people first.”
The AAP leader also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday, requesting him “not to stop Delhi’s Budget”.
The day before, the Delhi chief minister accused the Centre of resorting to “gundagardi”, and said this was the first time in the history of the country that the Budget of a government was put on hold.
Earlier Tuesday, AAP national spokesperson and Delhi minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said it was undemocratic and “shameful” that MHA officials were dictating the Budget expenditure for the national capital.
Bharadwaj said the MHA expressed concerns on the Delhi government’s Budget and refused to grant its approval in a letter sent to the chief secretary on March 17.
“He (the chief secretary) sat on it for three days. This is bigger than any anti-national activity. This should be investigated. The Centre is behind this conspiracy and the budget is being delayed at its behest,” he alleged.
It is understood the MHA has finally approved the Budget and that it will be presented on Wednesday.
Also read: Budget session: Both Houses adjourned amid logjam, to meet on Thursday