'Misleading propaganda, incessant lies...' L-G writes fresh letter to Kejriwal; AAP terms it 'unfortunate'

On Wednesday, Saxena and Kejriwal hit out at one another through 'open letters' over the issue, with the chief minister accusing the LG of stalling the scheme.
Last Updated 01 March 2024, 05:01 IST

New Delhi: In a letter to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Lieutenant Governor (LG) V K Saxena has emphasised the importance of propriety, constitutional boundaries and desisting from intemperate language, and said the chief minister did not address core issues related to a proposed water bill settlement scheme.

On Wednesday, Saxena and Kejriwal hit out at one another through 'open letters' over the issue, with the chief minister accusing the LG of stalling the scheme.

Saxena could have taken the path of acting against the erring officers or calling the chief minister for a discussion on such an important issue raised by him. Instead, he chose to ignore the wrongdoings of the officers and resorted to accusing Kejriwal and the city government in 'crude language' that even political opponents rarely use, the Delhi government said on Thursday in response to the LG's fresh letter.

Speaking in the Assembly earlier on Thursday, Kejriwal said the language of the LG's open letter to him was 'filthy'. He also accused Saxena of stalling the bus-marshal scheme.

Replying to Kejriwal's open letter on Wednesday, the LG quoted utterances of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders against him and cited the chief minister's attack on him in the Assembly on Thursday.

"What pains me more and leaves me perplexed is that in your verbose communication, you have chosen to completely sidestep the substantive issue on the so-called 'water scheme', which I had raised with you. The seven-page reply that you have written to me does not address even a single substantive issue raised by me in my letter," Saxena said.

He reminded Kejriwal about his previous letters, saying he has always underlined the importance of propriety, constitutional boundaries, desisting from intemperate language and adhering to dignity.

"Since day one, I urged you to work together for the benefit of the people of Delhi rather than indulging in petty politicking. Having said that, I would like to say that I am pained that you were pained," he said.

Kejriwal, in his reply to the LG's open letter on Wednesday, had said he was pained by its content.

The LG asserted that he stood by his observation that not a single piece of paper on the 'supposed water scheme' has been submitted to him by the city government, even as the chief minister, in his letter, has 'summarily blamed' him for stalling it.

"You have not answered as to whether any proposal has been finalised till now. I am also yet wondering whether the supposed 'scheme' was finalised by Delhi Jal Board (DJB) on January 13, 2023, or June 13, 2023," he said.

The AAP dispensation, including Kejriwal and his ministers Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj, has claimed that the scheme was approved by the DJB on January 13, 2023, but officers, under pressure from the LG and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), were not giving comments on it so that it could get the cabinet not.

"It yet remains a mystery as to how even as the proposal for the supposed 'scheme' was shuffling between your ministers and DJB till February 21, 2024, the Assembly passed the resolution blaming me on February 19, 2024," Saxena wrote in his letter to Kejriwal.

Bharadwaj had earlier said the chief secretary was directed to ensure that the finance department recorded its comments on the file of the scheme or presented the same before the cabinet.

"It is unbecoming of a chief minister to confuse the citizens of the city by chimerical promises of free water. By your own admission, water meters are faulty and DJB has been sending inflated bills. If this was the case, where was the political oversight over the last decade to ensure that people are not harassed?" Saxena questioned in his letter.

He also cited Kejriwal's charge that projects of his government were stalled since he took over as the LG in May 2022.

"The status of public health in the city, the sorry state of affairs in Delhi government hospitals flagged even by the high court, the pathetic condition of roads, an over-hyped education system which has registered lower enrolments, overflowing sewage lines and drains, scams in the excise policy, fake tests in mohalla clinics on 'ghost patients' did not happen during the last two years," he said.

Saxena charged that these were a product of gross inefficiency and misgovernance on the government's part for the last nine years. 'It is just that they have started getting exposed during the last two years,' he added.

The LG said he expects that the chief minister will introspect and said, "False advertising campaigns, misleading propaganda, incessant lies and baseless accusations on the floor of the House under the garb of legislative privilege can hold only for a certain period before they crumble and get exposed under their own weight."

The Delhi government said the LG's fresh letter is 'unfortunate', adding that he is free to accuse the chief minister and other ministers to his 'heart's content' by writing such long letters every day.

"But we request him to please allow the elected government in Delhi to work and serve the people of Delhi without any obstruction or hurdles, which have unfortunately become a daily affair under his term," it said.

Not doing this will be a 'betrayal' of the oath he took when occupying the high constitutional office of the LG as well as the democratic principles that make India a proud democracy in the eyes of the world, it added.

(Published 01 March 2024, 05:01 IST)

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