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Anil Baijal replies to Manish Sisodia: Aspersions cast on me

Days after Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia accused Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal of encroaching upon the domain of the elected government, the latter has “strongly” refuted the allegations. In his letter, Sisodia had alleged that Baijal had been calling bureaucrats to his office, issuing directions and “putting pressure” on them to implement his orders.

This standoff is the latest in a series of events where the elected government has been at odds with the nominated L-G, the latest being the appointment of lawyers to argue cases related to the January 26 violence at Red Fort.

The L-G in his response Thursday called these “insinuations and statements” devoid of “any merit and without any evidence” and also regretted that the matter was being discussed publicly.

He added the meetings he had called were “strictly within the ambit of constitutional provisions and responsibilities” entrusted to him. He said he had met officers from different departments and authorities to “facilitate and coordinate effective planning, preparedness and implementation of specific programmes and tasks in larger public interest, given the multiplicity of agencies in Delhi and the necessity to ensure inter-agency coordination across state- and national-level agencies for seamless and harmonious functioning”.

In his letter, Sisodia had alleged that Baijal was issuing directions to officials on subjects that “come under the purview of the elected government, without even keeping the ministers in the loop”.

Baijal said he had called meetings as the chairperson of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) regarding the Covid situation in the city.

He said the meetings were held on the status of vaccination, enforcement of Covid appropriate behaviour, installation of captive PSA oxygen plants in hospitals and augmenting hospital infrastructure, among others.

Pointing out that some of these meetings were attended by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal as well as Sisodia, Baijal wrote, “Was it a violation of constitutional and democratic principles to convene meetings on issues pertaining to the management of Covid in larger public interest?”

Baijal added he had convened many of the meetings “only to monitor the implementation aspects of programmes and schemes where no policy decisions were required to be taken”.

“Instead of appreciating the basic objective and outcome sought to be achieved by way of review meetings held at my level, it is unfortunate that incorrect aspersions have been cast upon me,” he added.

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