Opposition leaders in Punjab on Tuesday alleged that the state government was being “remote-controlled” from New Delhi by Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal.
The accusation came a day after Kejriwal met senior officials of the Punjab power department without state Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann being present, The Indian Express reported.
The meeting was held to discuss the party’s pre-poll promises, including providing free electricity for up to 300 units to the residents of the state. The officials who met Kejriwal said that they were on a “study tour” to examine how the Delhi government provided free electricity, Economic Times reported.
Newly-appointed Congress’ Punjab unit chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring asked if Mann was only a titular chief minister and that state officials were to be held accountable by Kejriwal.
Punjab Lok Congress chief Amarinder Singh accused Delhi chief minister of “taking over” the state and said Mann was just a “rubber stamp”.
Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu said that the meeting was a breach of federalism and an insult to Punjabi pride. “This exposes the defacto chief minister and Delhi remote control,” Sidhu wrote in a tweet.
Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party leaders and Punjab ministers said this matter should not be discussed out of context. Party spokesperson Malwinder Kang said that Kejriwal’s model of governance in Delhi is a matter of interest for many, The Indian Express reported.
“If he [Kejriwal] has held an informal meeting which is for the benefit of the people of Punjab, then it should be welcomed,” he said.
Punjab minister Laljit Singh Bhullar said there was nothing wrong with the meeting as Kejriwal was the national convener of the party.
“He is the national convener of the AAP and can hold a meeting,” Bhullar told reporters, according to Hindustan Times. “There is nothing wrong or condemnable about it.”