Spat over doorstep ration scheme between Delhi, Centre continues

New Delhi, Jun 23 (IANS): Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday dubbed Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the "most jhagdalu (quarrelsome) PM".

Sisodia accused Modi of always indulging in quarrels with state governments even on small issues.

Sisodia's remarks came in reply to a letter to the Delhi government by the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, raising concerns over shortcomings regarding the Delhi government's proposed doorstep ration delivery scheme.

Addressing a digital press conference on Wednesday, Sisodia called Modi "jhagdalu" (quarrelsome), adding that the objections raised by the Centre on the proposed scheme for doorstep delivery of ration were laughable.

Delhi's ruling AAP and the BJP-led Centre have been locked in a political tussle over the doorstep ration delivery scheme since it was announced by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on January 26 this year.

In a letter to the Delhi government, the Union ministry said that the city government has not mentioned the prices of ration under home delivery. It also asked whether people who opt for home delivery can revert to buying ration from shops later. Another concern it raised was about what happens in case the beneficiary changes his or her address and how addresses will be updated regularly.

Responding to the Centre's objections, Sisodia said, "The Centre could have asked us about the prices and we would have told them. They are saying that this scheme has been rejected but we never sent it to them for approval. Distributing ration is the state government's prerogative. We can tell the Centre that the cost will not be more than that prescribed by it."

In the letter, the Union ministry also asked about doorstep delivery in cases where the lanes are narrow and buildings are multi-storeyed. "Free movement of the delivery vehicle may be hindered. Moreover, doorstep delivery may not be successful in multi-storey buildings with multiple floors as most of the beneficiaries are daily wage labourers, household workers and timely delivery at fixed date/timing may be hampered due to traffic congestion, breakdown of delivery vehicles etc," the letter states.

"For the first time in its history, India has seen such a ‘jhagdalu' Prime Minister. He fought with the West Bengal CM, then he fought with the state's Chief Secretary. He fights with the Maharashtra Chief Minister, Twitter and Facebook. It seems like he woke up two days ago in the mood to fight with us, and asked the ministry officials to write this letter. The Centre has no right to stop this scheme," Sisodia alleged.

Kejriwal reacted on social media on the issue, saying the Centre's letter to the Delhi government hurt a lot. He sarcastically remarked that "21st century India had reached the moon, but you (Centre) are stuck on the third floor."



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