Arvind Kejriwal vs Lt Governor In ‘Open Letters’

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Arvind Kejriwal claimed that LG exercised all powers over officers.

New Delhi:

In a war of words over the issue of one-time settlement of inflated water bills, Delhi LG V K Saxena in an ‘open letter’ addressed to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said the AAP dispensation’s allegations of stalling the proposed scheme were “white lies”.

The Delhi chief minister as well as AAP government ministers Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj had accused the LG and the BJP of stalling the scheme through the officers concerned.

Mr Kejriwal, in reply to the LG, wrote back an ‘open letter’ to him, saying he was “deeply pained by the language” of his letter.

Mr Kejriwal said, “Whatever our differences, political backgrounds, however diverse our perspectives; this kind of offensive language is not acceptable from one constitutional functionary to another.”

Not a single piece of paper on the scheme was brought to the notice of the LG, officially or unofficially, Mr Saxena claimed in his letter.

Water, finance, urban development, all these departments concerned with the scheme, being transferred subjects, are totally under the chief minister’s control and the LG has no role whatsoever, Mr Saxena wrote to Mr Kejriwal.

The Raj Niwas posted the ‘open letter’ by the LtG on the X saying, “The LG writes open letter to CM Kejriwal; says Water, Finance, UD Departments totally under your control, I’ve nothing to do with it. Take decisions, and don’t blame others. Benefit all 27 lakh consumers, why only 10 lakh? Return the bills paid by 17 lakh honest consumers with interest.” The 17 lakh consumers paid Rs 13,186 crore to the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) as water bills since 2012, Saxena said asking the chief minister to return the amount to them with interest.

The LG also objected to a resolution passed by the Delhi Assembly on February 19 that the BJP exercises “direct control” over him.

“This is completely unacceptable and irresponsible assertion which does not behove of the members who endorsed it,” Mr Saxena stated.

He charged that a “false narrative” was being peddled by the chief minister and his ministers that the scheme was stalled by him.

“Your statements are white lies, again an example of typical ‘abuse and scoot game’ which you seem to have mastered and made a career out of it,” retorted the LG to charges on him.

The LG claimed that no decision was taken by the Delhi government regarding the one-time settlement ‘scheme’, and charged that the “inefficiency and failures of the chief minister and his government were being deliberately put on him and the Centre to divert public attention”.

He said the scheme was approved by the DJB on January 13, 2023, and was sent for comments by the finance department on January 25, 2024, after a gap of one year.

The minister concerned sent the file to the chief secretary as late as February 21, 2024, clearly indicating that the supposed ‘scheme’ was still in the process of formulation and was far from reaching any finality, said the LG.

“One is forced to wonder as to why the minister kept sitting on the proposed scheme for one year,” he said.

Mr Kejriwal, in his ‘open letter’ to Mr Saxena, hoped they will be “able to maintain a cordial and constructive working relationship” in the interest of Delhi’s people.

“I have myself discussed this matter with you more than once and brought it to your notice that the officers of the Delhi Jal Board, the Urban Development Department and the Finance Department are creating a constitutional crisis by not bringing the proposal to the Council of Ministers, despite the directions of the minister in charge,” he said.

He claimed that LG exercised all powers over officers.

“As a consequence, the officers respond to your directions whether given orally or in writing. This is the reason why I have brought multiple issues to your notice, where matters of public interest are being held up by officers, including this issue of water bills,” said Kejriwal.

The Delhi chief minister requested the LG to take an “exemplary action” against at least one officer so that it sends a message to the administrative machinery to fall in line.

“Please do not let the people of Delhi down,” he further wrote in his ‘open letter’.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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