Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has met Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena, at a time when the ruling AAP is locked in a battle with Saxena over corruption allegations related to the government’s excise policy as well as the latter’s previous job.
The meeting took place on Friday, after being cancelled thrice over the past three weeks.
“I have a weekly meeting with the LG every Friday. It didn’t happen for the last few weeks because I wasn’t in Delhi by chance. We met today in a good environment. The meeting went well and we discussed a variety of issues. I requested that we work together to improve the functioning of MCD because lack of cleanliness is becoming an issue. Secondly, the speed with which the height of the garbage mountains in Delhi (landfill sites) is being reduced is very slow and that at this pace it will take a long time for it to happen. I told him the Delhi government will help in any way we can on these issues. I am getting a lot of complaints regarding lack of cleanliness,” Kejriwal said.
Last week, the LG served a defamation notice to the AAP and four of its leaders after they alleged he was involved in corruption during his tenure at the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC). The AAP alleged that at his behest that two cashiers at the Khadi Gramodyog Bhawan, under the commission, had exchanged demonetised currency notes. The cashiers were arrested and allegedly told the CBI that they had been acting on orders from Saxena, who headed the commission. Though their trial is underway in the CBI case, Saxena is not an accused.
The relationship between Saxena and the AAP has been frosty since he took over, with party leaders alleging interference in the elected government’s work. Saxena recommended a CBI inquiry against Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on the basis of the chief secretary’s report that alleged irregularities including in giving waivers to liquor licensees.
The CBI has since then booked 15 people including Sisodia and excise officials and raided the former’s house.
Last week, the meeting between the chief minister and the lieutenant governor was cancelled because Kejriwal was in Gujarat. When asked about the strained ties with Saxena, the chief minister said, “What has happened is unfortunate and should not have happened. I hope the situation will improve. Our meeting today was very cordial.”