Delhi’s deputy chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member Manish Sisodia is “quite hopeful” of a good working relationship with Anil Baijal, saying the new lieutenant governor has started clearing files blocked by his predecessor Najeeb Jung.
The Kejriwal government, which completes two years in office next week, had been locked in a bitter battle with Jung over appointments, movement of files and police control.
“I think it (the channel) is reopening. From all the discussions I have had with the L-G so far, it’s been good. I am optimistic…,” Sisodia told HT on Tuesday, a day after Baijal cleared the government’s ambitious programme to set up mohalla clinics in school premises.
The new 300 clinics are part of the Kejriwal government’s plan to make basic healthcare easily available to the capital’s 20 million residents.
“It’s just the beginning and I hope he will look at things from a different perspective,” Sisodia said. Baijal took over as the LG on December 31, eight days after Jung’s surprise resignation.
Baijal was clearing files put on hold by Jung, Sisodia said.
“He has cleared the names we suggested for the board of directors at the Indira Gandhi Delhi Technological University,” said Sisodia, who also holds the education portfolio.
A proposal to allow sportspersons to train in school grounds in after hours, too, has been given the go-ahead while a number of files were returned without any objection, he said.
Asked if the Centre’s interference had reduced after Baijal’s appointment, Sisodia said, “Time will tell. It won’t be fair to comment right now.”
But he did say he was meeting the L-G at least once every week, sometimes even more. They had elaborate discussions on a parking policy for the city. They also discussed pollution and public transport.
That is quite a change from the regular clashes between the Kejriwal government and Jung over administrative control of the capital.
The battle is still playing out in courts, with the first round going to the L-G after the Delhi high court said the lieutenant governor was the administrative head of the Capital and all government decisions must be communicated to him.
The Kejriwal government has challenged the ruling in the Supreme Court.
Soon after the high court order in August, Jung set up a panel to examine several decisions taken by the government and called for around 400 files.
Recalling Jung’s tenure, Sisodia said, “Initially things were going fine. But, towards the end, a point came where he refused to consider anything we would suggest.”
Jung’s resignation, however, came as a shock to him and the government. “It was unexpected. When I met him he said he did so to return to academics. I had no reason not to believe him,” Sisodia said. Jung had 18 months left in his tenure when he quit.
An L-G, Sisodia said, should work for Delhi rather than focusing his energy on saving his job.