In an incident, which can spark a fresh row between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and bureaucrats, Delhi Chief Secretary MM Kutty has been asked to explain his absence from the celebrations on the birth anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri at Vijay Ghat by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Sources said that the chief minister was not happy with the conduct of the officer. The event, which was organised by the Delhi government, was attended by President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Nagendar Sharma, the media advisor to chief minister Kejriwal, on Monday said in a tweet that the chief minister had summoned the top Delhi officer for being absent from the Vijay Ghat programme.
“Besides Kutty various other bureaucrats also skipped the event. The chief minister is unhappy over the gesture of officials, who treated the national-level event lightly,” a Delhi government official said.
The event was organised by the government’s Art, Culture and Language Department.
Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia paid floral tributes to the former prime minister Shastri on the occasion.
This is the first time when Kejriwal has sought an explanation from Kutty over his absence in such a function. Calls and messages to Kutty elicited no response. It is expected that Kutty will send his explanation to Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday morning.
Senior IAS officer MM Kutty in November 2016 was appointed as the Delhi chief secretary. He had replaced K K Sharma, who was transferred to the Union Human Resource Development ministry as an officer on special duty.
The Kejriwal dispensation and the bureaucracy have always shared an uneasy relationship, marked by frequent sparrings, primarily due to the city’s complex administrative structure- in which the Lt Governor enjoys primacy.
There has been an instance when officers went on mass leave to protest the decision of the AAP government to suspend two DANICS-cadre (Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service) officials in 2015.
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