Lt Governor Writes To Arvind Kejriwal, Questions "Stalling Of Budget"

In his letter to the chief minister, Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena said the people of Delhi have a right to know how public funds are being used.

The budget session of the Assembly has been extended till the first week of March.

New Delhi:

Opening another front in his battle with the AAP, the Delhi lieutenant governor has written to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and questioned the delay in presenting the budget. Hitting out at the government, LG VK Saxena has accused it of "stalling the budget for no apparent reason" and said the people have a right to know how public funds are being used.

Saturday's letter by the LG comes a day after his missive to Mr Kejriwal regarding five Comptroller and Auditor General reports that, he said, have been "pending" with Delhi Finance Minister Atishi since August 2023.

Reacting to Mr Saxena's letters, the AAP has said that the LG keeps criticising the elected government instead of focusing on areas like police and law and order, which he is supposed to look after.

On February 15, the budget session of the Assembly had been extended till the first week of March after Ms Atishi had said in the House that there had been some delays in the finalisation of the financial statement.

In Saturday's letter, Mr Saxena wrote, "I am constrained to bring to your notice that despite the Annual Financial Statement being ready and available with the Government, after due clearance of Government of India, since as long as 19.02.2024, it is yet to reach me for causing it to be laid in the House as per law established."

Pointing out that the Centre had approved the budget on February 19, three days after the Delhi government had sent it, the LG said, "Thereafter, the process seems to have been stalled for no apparent reason at the level of GNCTD (Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi)... it will be in the fitness of things that the Annual Financial Statement (Budget), be laid, discussed and passed in the Assembly at the earliest for the benefit of people of Delhi."

Doing so, Mr Saxena wrote, will give the people of Delhi an opportunity to know the expenses and revenue of the government and also find out what the public funds, which "belong to the people themselves", are being utilised for."

"You are accordingly requested to get the process expedited and utilise the Budget Session for what it was summoned for in the interest of transparency, accountability and good governance," he signed off. 

Pending Reports

In his letter to the chief minister on Friday, Mr Saxena had requested him to ask the Delhi finance minister to "expeditiously process" five reports by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) so they could be tabled in the ongoing budget session.

Stating that the reports of the CAG are a constitutionally mandated independent and impartial assessment of the performance of the government, Mr Saxena wrote, "It is an obligation of the government of the day to share with the people, through the House, an objective account of its performance - revenue and expenditure of public funds." 

‘Keeps Writing Letters'

Asked about Mr Saxena's letter to the chief minister, senior AAP leader and Delhi minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said in Hindi, “The LG keeps writing letters. He should be looking after the police and law and order, but he keeps criticising the elected government, which is not right in my opinion.

(With PTI inputs)