Hitting out at Lt Governor Najeeb Jung for seeking details of foreign tours undertaken by AAP ministers, Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain today said such vistis by his party ministers are comparatively less than that of their counterparts in other parts of the country.
Wondering since when the Lt Governor has started scanning ministers’ foreign tours, he dared Jung to also seek such details of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign visits.
Last week, the Lt Governor had directed General Administration Department of the Delhi government to provide details of all foreign tours undertaken by AAP ministers, their personal staff and other officials in the last 18 months.
Besides the duration of the stay and the expenditure incurred on foreign trips, the Lt Governor’s office had also sought details of the “purpose” of the visits.
“Has he (Jung) also asked for details of foreign tours of Prime Minister? Since when has he started checking ministers’ foreign tours?
“Foreign tours are undertaken by AAP ministers for only official purpose after the government’s approval. We have travelled very less comparatively in the entire country. If we go abroad for personal purpose, we spend our money,” Jain, who is considered close to the Delhi CM, said.
Government officials said Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Jain have travelled abroad four times each on government expenditure. Labour Minister Gopal Rai, along with Jain, had been to Sweden on a five day-knowledge trip.
Officials, however, clarified that sacked minister Sandeep Kumar had travelled to the US with family privately.
Yesterday, Kejriwal and Jain returned from Vatican City, where they had gone to attend the sainthood ceremony of Mother Teresa.
On Opposition’s allegations that public work was getting affected due to the frequent travels by the chief minister and other ministers to poll-bound states like Punjab, Goa and Gujarat, Jain said if any minister goes to these states for campaigning, government’s work is not affected.
“Government’s work is not affected if a minister goes for poll campaigning. When I was in Vatican, I was looking after my departments’ works through WhatsApp. AAP ministers work all 365 days in a year.
“I work for 10 hours every day. In the previous governments, ministers used to come to office for only two hours once in a week,” Jain claimed.
Sisodia is at present on a two-day visit to Goa where AAP is gearing up for Assembly elections. Kejriwal will be away from the national capital for nearly a fortnight for a throat surgery and to take stock of AAP’s preparations in poll-bound Punjab.
He will undergo the surgery on September 13 to cure his chronic cough problem and rest there for 10 days.
“Before leaving for Bengaluru, the chief minister (Kejriwal) will embark on a 4-day visit to Punjab starting from September 8. He will meet party leaders and address a public gathering in Punjab,” a government official said.