Arvind Kejriwal backs DDC’s Jasmine Shah, asks LG to keep hands off think tank

Updated on Oct 19, 2022 05:47 PM IST

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Delhi cabinet appointed Jasmine Shah as DDC vice chairperson and only it has the power to question him

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said it was wrong to issue notice to Jasmine Shah because he was appointed by Delhi Cabinet. (PTI)
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said it was wrong to issue notice to Jasmine Shah because he was appointed by Delhi Cabinet. (PTI)
ByAlok KN Mishra

New Delhi: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday showered praises on the city government’s think tank, Dialogue and Development Commission (DDC) and its vice chairperson Jasmine Shah, for its “exemplary work” over the past seven years.

Kejriwal’s effusive praise for the DDC came just two days after the administration headed by Lt Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena issued a notice to Jasmine Shah, accusing him of misusing his position for political purposes. Shah, who was told on Monday to respond to the charges within seven days, had contended that the LG had no jurisdiction over the DDC vice chairperson’s office, that he held the rank of a minister and that only the chief minister had the power to remove him.

At a Press conference after reviewing the think tank’s activities on Wednesday, chief minister Kejriwal backed him up all the way. Kejriwal said the DDC was appointed by the Delhi cabinet, falls under the elected government’s jurisdiction and that the LG couldn’t interfere in its work.

Kejriwal said DDC, which was set up in 2015, supplemented the work of the elected government in framing policies, their implementation and monitoring.

“DDC has done exemplary work in last seven years… DDC supplements (ministers) their work by framing new schemes by consulting experts and stakeholders, implementing them and also by monitoring them. It played a key role during the Covid-19 pandemic by coming up with an e-coupon system for the distribution of rations among the needy. It developed a mechanism to bring down the response time of CATS (Centralised Accident and Trauma Services) ambulance from 55minutes to 18 minutes. DDC was also behind the robust Delhi Electric Vehicle policy formulated after rigorous consultations over a period of one to one-and-a-half years with experts and other stakeholders. It also came up with Rozgaar Bazaar portal to match job seekers and employers during the Covid pandemic,” Kejriwal said.

The chief minister said there were a total of 70 major achievements of the think tank to its credit

The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has already defended Shah, saying the notice issued by the planning department to DDC vice chairman was another attack on Delhi government due to AAP’s rising graph in Gujarat. “The LG has no answers to rising crime and garbage mountains in Delhi, but issues a letter every day targeting the work of Delhi government,” AAP said after the notice issued by the planning department director Vijendra Singh Rawat.

At Wednesday’s media briefing, Kejriwal also underlined that the notice issued to Jasmine Shah came a month after Bharatiya Janata Party MP Parvesh Sahib Singh complained to the LG, alleging that Shah was acting as the AAP spokesperson even though he was occupying an official position in the city government.

In his September 13 letter, the BJP MP claimed that Jasmine Shah violated Rule 5 of the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964, by acting as an official spokesperson of the AAP and participating in TV debates.

The planning department, the administrative department for DDC, carried out an inquiry, which concluded that Jasmine Shah used the public office to further an extremely partisan political agenda, an official said on condition of anonymity.

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