‘Elected govt repeatedly bypassed,’ says Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj

Bharadwaj accuses chief secy of ignoring ministry over appointment of MCD presiding officer
Urban Development Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj with Chief Secretary (CS) of the Delhi government, Naresh Kumar.
Urban Development Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj with Chief Secretary (CS) of the Delhi government, Naresh Kumar.

NEW DELHI: Urban Development Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj on Tuesday accused the Chief Secretary (CS) of the Delhi government, Naresh Kumar, of bypassing him while appointing the Presiding Officer for the upcoming MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) mayoral elections.

In a letter to Lieutenant Governor (L-G) VK Saxena, the minister said, “As you are well aware, this a transferred subject and as per the Constitution of India, this subject is under the control of the elected government of Delhi. Therefore, like previous years, this file should have been routed through the Minister of Urban Development. However, as it is clearly evident from the file movement, the CS Naresh Kumar has deliberately bypassed me” the letter read.

Bharadwaj also accused the Chief Secretary of deliberately sending the file to the office of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, despite knowing that he is in judicial custody, before sending the same to the L-G.

“This is clearly a conspiracy to bypass the entire elected government of Delhi,” Bharadwaj said in the letter.

The letter went on to say, “This is not the first time that CS Naresh Kumar has deliberately chosen to bypass the elected Government in the matters of transferred subjects. In the matter of the foreign tour of the MCD Mayor, the CS had repeated the same behaviour of deliberately bypassing the elected government.”

Citing protocol, the minister requested the L-G to return the file to the Chief Secretary and direct him to send it through the Ministry of Urban Development. Seeking appropriate action against the Chief Secretary, the minister further said, “It is requested that your good self may take appropriate action against the CS Naresh Kumar for his deliberate and repeated misconduct.”

Notably, during the mayoral election in January last year, the issue of appointing a presiding officer led to a dispute between the AAP and BJP as the L-G nominated a BJP councillor to the post.

The civic body is yet to receive approval from L-G VK Saxena to conduct the mayoral polls as well as from the Electiom Commission amid the model code of conduct.

The mayoral elections are slated for April 26. The AAP has fielded Mahesh Khichi for the post of mayor and Ravinder Bharadwaj for deputy mayor. Opposition BJP has fielded Kishan Lal for the post of mayor and Neeta Bisht for the deputy mayor’s post.

No immediate reaction was available from the L-G secretariat or Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar on the minister’s claims.

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