Hardening his position in the ugly fight with Lt Governor over the appointment of Shakuntala Gamlin as acting Chief Secretary, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today accused her of trying to favour two Reliance Infra-owned discoms through a Rs 11,000-crore loan and said the Modi government wants AAP dispensation to “fail”.
Kejriwal’s salvo at the Modi Government came a day after Gamlin took over as the acting Chief Secretary of the city government at the instruction of Lt Governor Najeeb Jung whom the Chief Minister accused of rendering the elected government ineffective.
Speaking at a convention of auto-rickshaw drivers in North Delhi’s Burari, Kejriwal alleged that Gamlin wanted to trick the government into signing documents which would give Rs 11,000 crore to power firms which she allegedly favoured.
“When our government was formed, she came to our power minister to get a letter signed saying that Reliance-owned power companies have applied for a loan of Rs 11,000 crore. She wanted the minister to sign the document and said it was just a formality.
“When our minister got this letter checked, it turned out to be a guarantee letter. If Reliance-owned power companies failed to pay the loan, the burden would come on the people and the rates in Delhi would have increased two-three fold,” he said.
The Chief Minister said his government would ensure that every file to Gamlin’s office over the next 10 days goes through him. Training his guns at the Centre, Kejriwal said the struggle while being in the government was much more than their agitation on the streets.
“We opposed the appointment of Chief Secretary (Gamlin), but Modi’s government appointed her as CS. We have been struggling for last four days, but Modi government wants to make Delhi government fail,” he alleged.
“It raises suspicions that they (BJP-led central government) will do something wrong in 10 days, but I assure you that I will keep a tab on her (Gamlin) and every file will go through me,” Kejriwal said.
The Centre also waded into the row with Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju accusing the AAP government of insulting the people of North-East and asking whether the city government was trying to bring anarchy in Delhi.
The confrontation over appointment of Gamlin as acting Chief Secretary yesterday turned into a full-blown war between the ruling AAP and Jung as Kejriwal asked him to work “within the confines” of the Constitution while alleging that he was trying to take over the administration.
Despite Kejriwal’s strong opposition, Jung had appointed her to the post on Friday. Yesterday the Chief Minister had asked her not to take charge of the post but she ignored his directive and followed the LG’s order.
Speaking on the issue, Rijiju said the officer’s appointment was made by the LG as per rules and the Delhi government was making allegations against her without any proof.
He accused the AAP government of indulging in character assassination of a woman IAS officer from the Northeast and “disobeying” the Constitution.
Amid the row, former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said an “atmosphere of confrontation” would be created if there is no coordination between the LG and the CM.
Dikshit, who served as Delhi Chief Minister for 15 years, also said that it would be city’s loss if the administration is not functioning properly.
Meanwhile, sources said Delhi Government in the past had also issued Letter of Comfort (LOC) for granting of loans to power sector entities.
Commenting on the issue, Delhi BJP President Satish Upadhyay attacked Kejriwal calling him a “self obsessed anarchist by nature who has no respect for any kind of institution”.
On allegation by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia yesterday that BJP was trying to rule Delhi through the Lt Governor, Upadhyay said it reflected Kejriwal government’s frustration.
Chief Secretary K K Sharma has left for the US on a personal visit due to which the government had to appoint an acting Chief Secretary for 10 days. Gamlin had been serving as Power Secretary.