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AAP MLAs ‘protest’ inside L-G office, demand approval of mohalla clinic project

In an unprecedented move, the ruling party legislators got themselves stationed in one of the conference rooms in L-G secretariat, starting a direct confrontation with the L-G office.

delhi Updated: Aug 30, 2017 23:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
HIndustan Times
AAP,mohhala clinics,kejriwal
Police on alert at lieutenant governor house in New Delhi on Thursday.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday asked lieutenant governor Anil Baijal to refrain from indulging in politics on mohalla clinics even as about 40 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators, demanding approval for the project, stayed put inside the L-G secretariat for hours after a brief meeting with Baijal.

In an unprecedented move, the ruling party legislators got themselves stationed in one of the conference rooms in L-G secretariat, starting a direct confrontation with the L-G office. The AAP MLAs left the L-G House around 9 pm, after staying put for about six hours, after they were intimated that Baijal would meet Kejriwal and other ministers to resolve the issue on Thursday, an AAP leader said.

The development was a reminder of the series of war of words between the office of former L-G Najeeb Jung and the AAP government over administrative jurisdiction, which ebbed after the Delhi High Court verdict in August 2016 that stamped the L-G as the city administrator.

Barring one or two instances, the relationship of the state government with Baijal has been smooth. However, things changed on Wednesday. The development was described by the opposition BJP as AAP going “back to its dirty tricks after one solitary win of Bawana bypoll”.

Taking to social media, party legislators led by Greater Kailash legislator Saurabh Bhardwaj shared pictures and videos from the conference room, appealing the L-G to meet them again and decide on the file.

AAP legislators alleged that the mohalla clinic project file has deliberately been kept pending with the Delhi government’s vigilance department that reports to the L-G.

“Just now as cover up, Vigilance sent note to Minister. And its replied in minutes to @LtGovDelhi. LG saab,Please clear the files now. If there is complaint against a hospital, will we close all hospitals in the country (sic.),” said party legislator in a series of tweets, putting in public domain a copy of the reply sent by health minister Satyender Jain.

Jain’s letter said he was committed to ensuring “not a single wrong doing would be tolerated on any account by anyone in mohalla clinics” even as he requested the L-G to not stall the project due to few ‘motivated complaints’.

The party legislators demanded that all concerned ministers and officers should be called and the issue settled as the project was related to people’s welfare.

“There shud be no politics wid Moh Clinics. It involves health of 2 cr Delhiites. LG must clear file immediately now. Public suffering due 2 delays. LG shud call all officers n sort it out. I am prepared to come wid my ministers 2 Raj niwas, if LG wants. Let LG sort out all objections across the table rather than files moving up n down. My sincere request (sic),” Kejriwal said in a series of tweets.

As the police presence at the L-G house increased, AAP legislators alleged that it was being done to intimidate the elected representatives.

“Who would have thought that MLAs would need to protest in the L-G office to get Mohalla Clinics built for the people of Delhi?” party leader Atishi Marlena tweeted.

On the issue of 45 MLAs stationed in the conference room, the LG house said Saurabh Bhardwaj was to be accompanied only by four other MLAs in his delegation, as promised and confirmed by him. However, a delegation of nearly 45 MLAs assembled in front of Raj Niwas.

Bhardwaj, however, said that the refusal to meet legislators was an insult for the elected representatives.

“When 43 MLAs went to meet L-G (they had taken prior appointment), he said he would meet only five. This is an insult to the MLAs. How can L-G refuse to meet the elected representatives of his state? When they insisted, he agreed to meet all of them. In the meeting when they asked him about the status of mohalla clinics’ file, he got angry without any reason and left. The MLAs were extremely polite and there was no reason for Baijal to get angry,” Bhardwaj said.

First Published: Aug 30, 2017 23:43 IST