New Delhi: The relationship between the Delhi government and the bureaucracy hit a new low after Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash alleged that he was assaulted by two AAP MLAs. Now, a week later, Prakash and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will come face-to-face at a Cabinet meeting at the Delhi Secretariat on Tuesday afternoon.
Underlining the tension ahead of the meeting, the Chief Secretary wrote to the CM, saying he and his colleagues would attend the meeting on the “assumption that the CM will ensure that there is no physical attack and verbal assault on the officers”.
Sources said the meeting, to be held at 3pm, has been called to discuss the upcoming Delhi budget, which deputy CM and Delhi Finance Minister Manish Sisodia will table in the Assembly in March. The meeting comes in the wake of allegations by Kejriwal that bureaucrats have not been cooperating with the elected government in the wake of the Chief Secretary’s allegations.
On Friday, Kejriwal had tweeted saying, “Officers not attending meetings for last 3 days. Governance suffering. I m v concerned. LG assured he will take all steps to ensure officers started functioning normally. Council of ministers assured him all cooperation. All of us need to work together for the betterment of Delhi.”
Officers not attending meetings for last 3 days. Governance suffering. I m v concerned. LG assured he will take all steps to ensure officers started functioning normally. Council of ministers assured him all cooperation. All of us need to work together for betterment of Delhi— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 23, 2018
The Secretariat, where Tuesday’s budget meeting will be held, also witnessed violent scenes last Tuesday. A mob of around 150-200 people could be seen marching into the lobby of Delhi Secretariat in a video and assaulting Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain and his aides.
Delhi Dialogue Commission (DDC) Vice-Chairman and senior AAP leader Ashish Khetan said he was also assaulted around the same time on another floor of the secretariat on Tuesday. This incident took place hours after the Chief Secretary’s allegations were made public.
AAP said that while two party MLAs, Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jharwal, were sent to judicial custody after just an allegation, nobody had been arrested yet over the assault of Hussain and Khetan despite video proof.
Among the things that are likely to come up in the budget, discussion is the allocation of funds for live streaming of all meetings of ministers and MLAs with bureaucrats.
The Kejriwal government is mulling a move to broadcast all meetings with bureaucrats live online. According to a Delhi government source, the move is aimed at creating greater transparency in the inner workings of the government and a way for the Kejriwal-led party to avoid any further allegations that bureaucrats may level against them. The meetings will likely be live streamed on the Delhi government website.