AAP vs Delhi chief secretary: In a first-of-its-kind instance that can be thought of in Independent India, Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, the seniormost bureaucrat in the Delhi establishment, has accused Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs of assaulting him in the presence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at a meeting called at the latter’s residence late on Monday. The scuffle, that has resulted in a constitutional break down, has turned into a blame game with Aam Aadmi Party leader Prakash Jarwal, alleging that a racist slur was used against him at the CM’s residence by the chief secretary during the meeting. Just as reports of Delhi officers striking owrk in protest against the treatment meted out to the senior bureaucrat started coming in, another AAP MLA Ashish Khetan accused babus and officials at Delhi Secretariat of attacking and manhandling him and his PSO.
It all started when Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash went to Kejriwal’s residence late on Monday after being called for a meeting. There are two versions of what led to the alleged scuffle and why the Chief Secretary stormed out, as shown in CCTV footage visuals showed on television channels. At the outset, there are two versions of why the meeting was called at midnight. The IAS association claims that the meeting was called to resolve an issue pertaining to the city government’s advertising spends. The AAP, however, claims that it was a review meeting which was called over complaints of Aadhaar irregularities in the distribution of ration.
After the meeting, Prakash alleged that he was roughed up by AAP MLAs, an allegation that AAP has denied as baseless. In a statement, the party said, “[The Chief Secretary] CS refused to answer questions saying that he was not answerable to MLAs and CM and that he was answerable only to LG.” The party also claimed that the Chief Secretary even used foul language against some MLAs and left Kejriwal’s residence without answering any questions.
Calling Prakash’s allegation ‘ludicrous’, the party said that the meeting had been called to discuss the problem of Delhiites not getting rations due to “faulty implementation of Aadhaar.” The party further accused the BJP of hatching a conspiracy against the party. On the other hand, bureaucrats claimed that the scuffle happened on the issue of AAP advertisements. AAP leader Amanatullah Khan, at the centre of the entire row for having allegedly assaulted the IAS officer, denied the incident altogether wondering how a CM could a chief secretary to his residence and get him assaulted. He added that the chief secretary had left the meeting on his own and was not assaulted. The two versions of the one incident have further complicated a matter that is fast turning into a constitutional crisis.
While both sides stick to their allegations, Delhi’s officers have decided to strike work in protest. “Met LG & put forward our concerns. Chief Secy was called for a meeting late at night; CM, Dy CM & MLAs were there, when CS reached he was roughed up. Since few years such things have been happening, officers have been insulted & humiliated,” Manisha Saxena, IAS Association Secretary told reporters.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Hiome Affairs has sought a detailed report on the matter from the office of the LG.
It is worth mentioning that ever since the Kejriwal government came to power in Delhi, there has been a tug of war between the LG (be it former LG Najeeb Jung or present LG Anil Baijal) and the Delhi government on various fronts. The issue of administrative control over Delhi has been a bone of contention between the city government and the Centre ever since AAP came to power. The matter finally reached the Delhi High Court on November 2, last year, which ruled the LG as the administrative head of the national capital.