Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Thursday said he will send his officers anywhere for sharpening their administrative skills after the Opposition criticised Aam Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal for meeting state power department officials in Delhi, reported NDTV. Mann was not present in the meeting.

The meeting was held on Monday 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 had said that they were on a “study tour” to examine how the Delhi government provided free electricity.

“If needed, for training purposes, I will send my officers to Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and even Israel,” Mann told reporters on Thursday. “Why should anyone object to that.”

The chief minister said that government officials go to other states such as Gujarat and Tamil Nadu for training purposes and asked if they cannot go to Delhi to learn “good things”, reported The Indian Express.

He praised the Delhi government’s expertise in education, power and health sectors.

Mann also said that even former First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump, had visited the national capital in February 2020 to see the schools run by the Delhi government.

Opposition criticism

After Kejriwal’s meeting with the power department officials, Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu had said that summoning officers to Delhi was a breach of federalism and an insult to Punjabi pride.

“This exposes the defacto chief minister and Delhi remote control,” Sidhu had tweeted.

Punjab Lok Congress chief Amarinder Singh had accused the Delhi chief minister of “taking over” the state and said Mann was just a “rubber stamp”.

Aam Aadmi Party leaders and Punjab ministers, however, had said this matter should not be discussed out of context. Party spokesperson Malwinder Kang had said that Kejriwal’s model of governance in Delhi is a matter of interest for many.

“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.