Days after launching a direct attack on Twitter, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seek his help in overturning the centre’s decision to block doorstep delivery of food rations in the national capital.
Mr Kejriwal reminded Prime Minister Modi that his AAP government had supported the centre on various matters of “national interest” and asked for similar consideration in this matter.
“Till today I have supported you in all your work in national interest. You should also support us in this… this is also a matter of national interest. We are ready to do make any changes in the ration delivery plan that the central government needs,” the Chief Minister’s letter read.
“It is important that this scheme be implemented – not just in Delhi but the whole country – during the coronavirus pandemic,” the letter said.
On Saturday the centre blocked a doorstep food rations delivery scheme Delhi said would benefit 72 lakh people past the economic hardship – loss of jobs and wages – as a result of the lockdown.
Lt Governor Anil Baijal – whose authority has been increased following a controversial law that gives him more power – returned the file citing lack of central approval and an ongoing court case.
Sources said the centre’s approval was needed since the plan sought a change in distribution method. They also pointed to a writ petition – to which the centre is a party – pending in the Delhi High Court.
The centre had also flagged concerns in March; it said the scheme could result in ration card holders buying necessities at a higher rate than that fixed under its law, news agency PTI reported.
A furious Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: “Mr Prime Minister, what kind of an arrangement do you have with the ration mafia that you had to stop the Kejriwal government’s ‘Ghar Ghar Ration Scheme’?”
The following day the Chief Minister lashed out again: ” If pizza, burgers, smartphones and clothes can be delivered at home, then why can’t ration be delivered at their doorstep?” he asked.
Mr Kejriwal also disputed the centre’s claim his government did not take the required permission.
“The Delhi government did not require the centre’s approval for the implementation of the scheme, but it sought permission five times to avoid any dispute,” he said.
The AAP government in Delhi had cleared the proposal to allow home delivery of rations in July last year; it was one of the promises made by the party in the run-up to the February assembly polls.
With input from PTI