'Hijacked On PM's Order': Tree Plantation Drive Becomes New Friction Point Between Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi LG

The said program was to be undertaken jointly by Saxena and Kejriwal. For this, the two sides on July 4 had mutually decided to take part in the program, under which 1 lakh trees were to be planted.

By Aalok Sensharma
Updated: Sun, 24 Jul 2022 02:11 PM IST
Minute Read
'Hijacked On PM's Order': Tree Plantation Drive Becomes New Friction Point Between Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi LG
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena. (Photo: ANI)

A event on 'Van Mahotsav' has become a new point of friction between Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal skipped a pre-decided combined program of Tree Plantation drive at Asola Bhatti Mines on Friday.

The said program was to be undertaken jointly by Saxena and Kejriwal. For this, the two sides on July 4 had mutually decided to take part in the program, under which 1 lakh trees were to be planted.

"After absenting from the scheduled weekly meeting with Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena on Friday citing ill health, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday again skipped a pre-decided combined program of Tree Plantation at Asola Bhatti Mines in the national capital gain due to ill health," news agency quoted Delhi LG sources as saying.

"One is left to wonder if recommending a CBI inquiry into an apparently illegal Excise Policy is taking the focus of the CM away from Delhi's environmental concerns," the LG sources added.

However, the AAP alleged that the program was "hijacked" on instructions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and was turned into a political programme of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is why Kejriwal and other ministers didn't attend it.

"The Delhi Police reached the location of the event and took control of the pandal last night. They forcibly put up banners carrying pictures of PM Modi... Banners carrying photos of Lieutenant Governor (VK Saxena) and Chief Minister Kejriwal were taken down," Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said.

This is the latest face-off between Kejriwal and Saxena, who was appointed Delhi LG this may. Earlier, it was reported that Kejriwal had missed a weekly meeting called by Saxena on Friday. However, AAP alleged that the LG had "skipped" a similar meeting on July 8.

Recently, Saxena denied permission for Kejriwal's Singapore visit to attend the World Cities Summit, the AAP convener said he differs with the LG's advice and would go ahead with the visit.

Notably, Saxena also recommended a CBI probe into the alleged violations of the Arvind Kejriwal-led government's contentious new excise policy including "deliberate and gross procedural lapses" made by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia to "provide post tender undue benefits to liquor licensees."

The LG office said that Sisodia also extended "undue financial favours" to the liquor licensees much after the tenders had been awarded and thus caused huge losses to the exchequer.

Sisodia's role is under the scanner for alleged deliberate and gross procedural lapses which provided undue benefits to the tender process for liquor licensees for the year 2021-22, officials told ANI.

The excise policy was passed by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi Cabinet in the middle of the deadly Delta wave of Covid pandemic in 2021. However, the Delhi CM dismissed the allegations and said that the Centre "cannot" see AAP rising to the national level and thus is "resorting to such measures".

A report on July 8 by the Chief Secretary established prima facie violations of GNCTD Act 1991, Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR) 1993, Delhi Excise Act 2009, and Delhi Excise Rules 2010.

(With inputs from ANI)

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