The turf war between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal reached Parliament today, with a Rajya Sabha member claiming that the chief minister was being treated like a “peon”. Deputy Chairman P J Kurien, who was chairing the proceedings, requested Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri to try and sort out the friction between the duo. As the issue dominated the discussion on a bill related to Delhi, a number of opposition members raised the matter of the chief minister not being invited to the inauguration of Metro’s Magenta Line. “I have a suggestion for you. You please take initiative to sort out the friction between the Lt Governor and the Chief Minister,” Kurien told Puri, after a number of members raised the issue of power tussle between them.
Puri accepted it as a “bigger challenge” than challenges faced by him during his four-decade of public life that included negotiations with terrorists. “In four decades of public life I have faced many challenges. I tried to negotiate with terrorists etc. This is going to be a difficult one but I will accept your challenge and I will try and negotiate… I will invite both of them for lunch and do something and I will try and sort this out,” the minister told the Chair. Puri earlier in the course of reply to a debate has said that the chief minister was not invited to the inauguration event by the prime minister as the stretch fell in Uttar Pradesh, and added that if Kejriwal was so eager he could sanction the fourth phase of metro which had been pending with the Delhi government for approval.
Senior member Raj Gopal Verma said, “When the minister was saying that the inauguration was done in the UP sector, I was silent. All those who possess general knowledge had objection to it as when the Delhi Metro is executing it, the Delhi Chief Minister should have been invited… This is a wrong precedent.” Verma cited one such instance during former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s regime wherein Vajpayee had refused to attend a function till the chief minister of the state was invited to be a part of it. “Simple traditions and courtesies should be followed,” Verma said. Earlier, soon after Union minister Vijay Goel lashed out at the AAP government for not regulating unauthorised colonies in the course of a debate on a related Bill, Naresh Agarwal of the Samajwadi Party said the Delhi government was not being allowed to function and the Lt Governor treated “Delhi CM as a peon”. Agarwal said the Delhi government was an elected body and had the right to govern, and questioned the BJP why was it not making the national capital a model city like Varanasi. T K Rangarajan of the CPI(M) echoed him and said the state government should have been given full powers which were being violated not only in Delhi but also in Puducherry. D Raja (CPI) questioned as to “how long it (power tussle) will be allowed to continue”. Demanding that the situation be sorted out in Delhi and Puducherry, he said it should be solved immediately.
Md N Haque (Trinamool Congress) took a strong objection to the Delhi chief minister not being invited to the Metro launch event. “Why is the elected government in Delhi not allowed to run. Lt Governor is dictating…Recently PM inaugurated Delhi Metro rail but the CM of Delhi was not invited,” he said. Haque said, “In the name of development, this political oneupmanship should stop.” A stretch of Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25, cutting down the travel time between Noida and parts of south Delhi by more than 30 minutes.