File on CM Arvind Kejriwal's Singapore visit stuck with Delhi LG since June 7, claim sources

The charge came just before the weekly Friday meeting between Saxena and Kejriwal over issues related to Delhi.
Delhi's new Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena (L) with CM Arvind Kejriwal (Photo| ANI)
Delhi's new Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena (L) with CM Arvind Kejriwal (Photo| ANI)

NEW DELHI: Lieutenant Governor (LG) Vinay Kumar Saxena is "sitting over" several "important" files of the Delhi government, including one for Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's Singapore visit in August, official sources alleged on Friday, hinting at a tussle building up between the two sides.

No reaction was immediately available from the LG's office over the allegation. Incidentally, the charge came just before the weekly Friday meeting between Saxena and Kejriwal over issues related to Delhi. It was not known whether the chief minister raised the issue at the meeting.

"Smallest of the matters pertaining to Delhi are being sat on for a long time, which is causing delays in public work. The chief minister is scheduled to go to the World Cities Summit in Singapore to present the Delhi model of governance, but the LG has withheld the clearance of the file," a source said.

The fresh attack on Saxena comes close on the heels of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia's allegation earlier this week that the LG is "bulldozing the law" in favour of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.

Sisodia's allegation came after the LG gave his nod for a probe by the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) into alleged irregularities in the construction of seven temporary hospitals by the AAP government during COVID-19.

Delhi BJP MP Manoj Tiwari had filed a complaint in the matter. The deputy chief minister had also written to the LG, saying the permission for the probe was "wrong, both by law and in terms of effective governance".

Before Sisodia, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs, including Atishi and Somnath Bharti, had alleged that the LG was "intruding" in the city government's jurisdiction and functioning. Atishi had accused Saxena of "interfering" in the Delhi government's work and "conspiring" to derail democracy as he visited two Delhi Jal Board facilities and a sewage treatment plant on June 4.

In a fresh salvo, AAP's chief spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj alleged that the LG is "misleading" the public over the suspension of four officials. He said a matter regarding land-related corruption was raised by him in the Assembly and the privilege committee of the House had investigated it.

The committee had also issued notices to the then divisional commissioner Sanjeev Khirwar for allegedly protecting these officials and hiding information about them, Bhardwaj said.

The growing clamour of the AAP dispensation comes even as Kejriwal, after a meeting with Saxena, who took charge in May, had ruled out any "lack of coordination" and said he would meet the LG every Friday to discuss issues related to the city.

The sources said the file on the chief minister's Singapore visit has been pending with the LG's office for approval since June 7. Officials said according to protocol, any minister, including a chief minister or his deputy, has to take the approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for official foreign tours.

The file seeking such approval is routed to the MHA through the LG in case of a Union Territory. "The file is stuck at the LG's office for the last three weeks. This has never happened before in Delhi's history," one of the sources said.

The sources said that under the previous LG, files regarding the chief minister's visits were cleared and sent back to the Delhi government in one or two days.

Even "the smallest of the matters" pertaining to Delhi are being "sat on for a long time", causing delays in public work, they said, adding that there are many such files on which the LG has nothing to aid or advise.

Kejriwal was invited to the World Cities Summit 2022, to be held in Singapore, by the High Commissioner of that country, Simon Wong, at a meeting on June 1. The chief minister had said he looked forward to attending the event and would send a formal acceptance.

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