Mann on Row over Punjab IAS Officers Meeting Kejriwal

Reacting to the political row after Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal summoned Punjab’s IAS officers, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann clarified on Thursday that he had sent the officers for a reason.

Addressing a press conference on the issue in Jalandhar, Mann said people would get good news on April 16 as to know why he had sent the officers to Delhi. He said if there is anything “good” to be learnt elsewhere, he was ready to send his officers there, be it Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat or Tamil Nadu.

CM Mann further said senior officers of the state government had gone for training in New Delhi, a few days ago, on his orders.

Slamming the opposition for making a hue and cry over the issue, Mann said he will send his officers for honing their administrative skills and expertise whenever needed. He said Delhi government’s reforms in education, health and power sector are unmatched, and there is no harm in receiving training from them.

“They (Delhi government) are specialists in education, power, health. Why shouldn’t I send the officers?” Mann said.

The opposition had raised the “Kejriwal-controlled Punjab” charge over the meeting of the state’s bureaucrats on Monday with the chief minister of Delhi.

From the Congress to the BJP, leaders from the opposition outfits flayed Kejriwal for reportedly meeting top officials of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) along with the state chief secretary and power secretary in the alleged absence of CM Mann.

The newly elected Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring took to Twitter to criticise Kejriwal for “summoning” the Punjab officers.

Warring was followed by his predecessor Navjot Singh Sidhu who also sought an explanation from the chief minister.

The Shiromani Akali Dal asked Mann to safeguard the interests of Punjab and ensure it is not remote-controlled from Delhi.

The BJP, too, joined the chorus. Party national general secretary Tarun Chugh lambasted Kejriwal for “converting Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann into a rubber stamp chief minister”.

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