AAP vs Modi Government: Withdraw Nomination of AAP Leaders From DMRC Board, Centre Tells Delhi Government
Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and Prime Minister Narendra Modi | File Image | (Photo Credits: PTI)

New Delhi, July 17: In what can trigger a fresh round of tussle between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Modi government, the Centre on Wednesday asked the Delhi government to withdraw the nomination of AAP members as directors of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). Citing Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) guidelines, the Centre asked the Delhi government to nominate government officials rather than AAP leaders.

The Delhi government nominated AAP leaders Raghav Chadha, Atishi, party Rajya Sabha member ND Gupta’s son Naveen Gupta and Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi (DDCD) vice-chairperson Jasmine Shah. The Modi government said under the DPE guidelines, which apply on DMRC as well, government officials should be nominated as director. It added that the Government of India (GoI) is also nominating government officials. Delhi Metro Given Grant of Over Rs 400 Crore in Union Budget 2019.

According to the DPE guidelines on the composition of board of directors, officers dealing with concerned enterprises or handling the issues of sectors should be nominated as government nominee directors, as reported by Hindustan Times. The board comprises 17 members, including five each from the Centre and the Delhi government. Delhi Metro Free Rides for Women: Hardeep Singh Puri Questions Arvind Kejriwal's Move, Says Decision Taken in Haste.

"It is, therefore, advised that in the interest of development of DMRC, GNCTD should withdraw the nomination of government nominee directors...who are not government servants and nominate, as earlier, such officials of the state government who deal with the subject and bring domain knowledge, expertise and accountability to drive DMRC into a world-class service provider," the ministry of housing and urban affairs’ additional secretary K Sanjay Murthy wrote in a letter to Delhi chief secretary Vijay Kumar Dev.

“Further, convention has been established for all metro rail companies that officers closely involved with the implementation of metro rail projects working in the area of transport/infrastructure/finance/urban development are nominated by the Government of India (GoI) and respective state governments on the board of metro companies. This is to ensure that individuals well conversant with functional, financial and managerial aspects are represented on the board and contribute to effective decision making,” Murthy added.

He further stated that former government officials who had served as chief secretary, finance secretary, urban development secretary or any retired government servants who have expertise in the domain are often nominated as government nominee directors in metro companies across the country.

"This model has worked very well so far in the development of the metro network in the country...It is pertinent to mention that government nominee directors bring not only domain knowledge and expertise but are also accountable to various tasks of the company for ensuring time-bound implementation of the project. It is easier to hold government officers on the board in their ex-officio capacity accountable which may not be possible for private individuals," Murthy wrote.

Asked about the Delhi government's view on the development, transport minister and AAP leader Kailash Gahlot said they have not received the letter yet. "We will respond to it as and when it comes," Gehlot added. There have been several issues related to governance in Delhi on which the AAP government and the Centre have been at loggerheads.