In an effort to reach out to his bête noire, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has said he has no "hard feelings" for Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and their "sour relationship" should end to ensure effective governance and development in the national capital.
Kejriwal, who has been locked in a power tussle with Jung for a long time, made the comments on the sidelines of an iftar hosted by him on Sunday. The event was attended by Jung, vice president Hamid Ansari, former chief minister Sheila Dikshit, police commissioner BS Bassi and Pakistani envoy Abdul Basit.
The chief minister embraced Jung with a warm hug when he was ushered into the venue in Chanakyapuri by deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.
"Sour relationship should go away because, anyway, there are no hard feelings as such. Everybody is doing their work. If we work together, only then will the country progress," he told reporters.
Kejriwal, who was responding to a question on whether his relationship with the LG will improve, took turns sitting beside Jung, Ansari and Dikshit at the venue, where a sumptuous spread was on offer for the guests.
The last time Kejriwal and Jung were seen together at a public event – the International Yoga Day on June 21 – they had studiously avoided each other.
Kejriwal and Jung were locked in a tussle since the Aam Aadmi Party came to power in Delhi in February. They have locked horns on a number of issues, including the transfer of senior bureaucrats and control of the Anti-Corruption Branch of the Delhi government.
Their differences were at a peak in May, when Kejriwal objected to Jung’s decision to elevate IAS officer Shakuntala Gamlin as the acting chief secretary. Kejriwal and Jung had traded barbs almost every day and the tussle had affected the functioning of the city’s government.
Kejriwal said he had invited leaders from across the political spectrum to the event, unlike other “VIP iftars”.
“VIP iftars are of one type and our iftar of the other. Even VIPs felt good about the presence of common people at the event. We had called people cutting across party lines, including the BJP, Congress, JD-U and TMC," he said.
Kejriwal was also seen engrossed in a conversation with Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien.
Apart from Pakistani envoy Basit, a number of diplomats attended the iftar. All ministers of the Delhi government, a group of AAP leaders and representatives of the Muslim community were also present.
"Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians – everyone will have to work together. The message of love is the same in the Gita, Quran, Bible and Guru Granth Sahib," Kejriwal said.
(With inputs from PTI)