High drama ensued at Lt Govenor Anil Baijal’s office today as 45 AAP MLAs camped there until late evening insisting he clear the Mohalla clinics file — an act the latter termed as “laying siege” to the office of a “constitutional functionary”.
The development marks a fresh confrontation between the AAP dispensation and the L-G’s office which have frequently been at loggerheads. It also sparked a blame game, with the office claiming that no proposal or file about Mohalla clinics is pending with it.
The chief minister’s office in turn said the file seeking approval was sent to the L-G’s office, which marked it to the vigilance department on the basis of “frivolous complaints”, filed by “malicious” political rivals, that do not point to any specific charge.
In a statement, the L-G’s office said an appointment for a meeting was given to AAP MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj and four other lawmakers.
However, it was a delegation of nearly 45 MLAs, led by Bhardwaj, that turned up in front of the Raj Niwas demanding to meet Baijal.
“The LG, despite his scheduled court hearings at 3 pm, agreed to meet the entire delegation in his Conference Hall even though it was already past 2.50 pm,” his office said.
It also stated that Baijal explained to the MLAs the current status of the proposal and clearly outlined the progress so far, adding that the behavior of the lawmakers became increasingly “rude and discourteous” and their conduct was “unbecoming” of elected representatives.
“Despite being given a chronological status of the entire proposal and repeatedly being told by the L-G that the proposal has been returned to the chief minister on July 5 2017 with a request to address the complaints, the MLAs continued to behave in a belligerent manner without any interest in responding to facts and logic,” it said.
AAP’s Kasturba Nagar MLA Madanlal said the party legislators had come to meet the Lt Governor so that the Mohalla clinic file could be swiftly cleared. He said Baijal met them for only “two-and-half minutes”.
The six-and-a-half hour-long impasse ended after the lawmakers got an assurance that Baijal would hold a meeting with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the government officials dealing with the relevant files, said Bharadwaj.
The L-G office said that complaints were received in September, October, November and December in 2016 pertaining to the conceptualisation and implementation of Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics that have been set up so far.
“There are several allegations that no transparent method has been adopted to select premises for mohalla clinic. The allegations also stated that rent of premises was higher than market rent. Premises of party workers were rented,” the LG office said.
The AAP, in turn, claimed the complaint was made by Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Ajay Maken and it had no merit.
Reacting to the development, Kejriwal said that there should be no politics over mohalla clinics.
“There shud be no politics wid Moh Clinics. It involves health of 2 cr Delhiites. LG must clear file immediately nowPublic 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 wantsLet LG sort out all objections across the table rather than files moving up n down. My sincere request,” he tweeted.