Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri offers to broker peace between Arvind Kejriwal and Anil Baijal
Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri has a plan to help sort out issues between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal -- a lunch invitation. "Maybe, I will invite both of them for lunch and try and sort this out," Mr Puri said when Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha PJ Kurien asked him to "sort out the friction between the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal".
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and the Lt Governor have been locked in a tussle over doorstep delivery of public services.
The union minister said he has in the past negotiated with terrorists and can now "accept the challenge" of brokering peace between Mr Kejriwal and Mr Baijal. Mr Puri's comments came after members of various opposition parties complained that the "elected government of Delhi is being deprived of all powers by the centre" as also the constant friction between the Lieutenant Governor and the chief minister.
"In four decades of my public life, I faced many challenges. I have tried to negotiate with terrorists. This (negotiating with Mr Kejriwal) is going to be a difficult one but I will accept your challenge and try," Mr Puri said, according to news agency IANS.
In the recent past, Mr Kejriwal and Mr Puri had a letter war over fare hike in Delhi Metro. While the chief minister demanded a rollback, the union minister refused citing the mechanism of the fare fixation committee.
While Congress, Trinamool and Left parties stressed the need to give more powers to the elected government, Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav raised the issue of Delhi chief minister not being invited at the inauguration of the metro's magenta line a few days back.
Mr Yadav cited the example of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee once declining to go to the inauguration of a project in a state until its chief minister was invited.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the line with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath by his side.With inputs from IANS