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Kejriwal should follow Dikshit model of engaging with officers: Ajay Maken

Congress leader and former Union minister Ajay Maken said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal should follow the Sheila Dikshit model of engaging with officers respectfully

Ajay Maken, Congress spokesperson

Ajay Maken

Press Trust of India New Delhi

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Congress leader and former Union minister Ajay Maken on Sunday said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal should follow the "Sheila Dikshit model" of engaging with officers respectfully, holding dialogues with them rather than "mistreating" them, and persuading them to work for the city's advancement.
He also said Kejriwal's past actions of summoning officers and allegedly using harsh words against them are only contributing to the City's distress.
Maken's advice came as the Delhi government is engaged in a battle with the Centre over the control of the city's bureaucracy.
Sharing his own experiences as a minister in the Sheila Dikshit government in Delhi during the BJP-led NDA regime at the centre in early 2000s, Maken said they worked with the bureaucracy to get things done in Delhi's interest.
"I hope the current Chief Minister takes note of this journey and learns from it. Engage with officers respectfully, hold dialogues, and persuade them for Delhi's advancement. They will certainly align with your vision if it's sincere.
"Your past actions - summoning officers at ungodly hours, resorting to mistreatment and harsh words - are not constructive. It's crucial to recognize that such behavior only contributes to the city's distress," Maken said on Twitter.
Sharing on Twitter and Facebook a story titled "A Day with Sheila Ji: Reflecting Amidst Kejriwal's Current Power Chaos", Maken said in the early 2000s a historic shift was underway in Delhi when he was serving as the transport, power, and tourism minister under the late Sheila Dikshit.
The Congress leader said the Delhi government was spearheading a series of initiatives including transitioning public transport to CNG, launching the Metro and reforming the power department.
In the middle of this, then transport commissioner Sindhushree Khullar was replaced. "Fired up, we decided to meet the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. I remember her (Sheila Dikshit's) strategic advice. She told me, 'be as forceful as possible, argue for the interest of Delhi. As I deal with the LG daily, you can be the forceful, I will be the supportive referee,' she directed," Maken said.
"Despite our passionate appeal, the LG was unwavering. 'I have my orders. I can't reverse this, he responded firmly...
"Unfortunately, by evening, the decision stood firm. My frustration prompted a proposal for a press conference to expose this politically driven obstruction. Sheila Ji, however, had a different strategy.
"With a gentle wave of her fingers, she advised, 'No, no, no Don't tell anyone about our failed attempt. Officers shouldn't know that we tried and couldn't succeed. If they find out, they might stop taking us seriously'. Her wisdom was profound. She continued, 'Call the new officer. Tell him the CM is delighted with his appointment. Explain the importance of CNG conversion, and invite him for tea and pakoras. These officers are with no one. Tackle them skillfully'," Maken said.
The former minister said the turn of events was remarkable as the new officer understood the gravity of the situation and "we stood united against various lobbies and earned accolades from the Supreme Court and even the US Government".
He said he could say with pride, "We became the first city globally to fully convert its public transport system to CNG."

AICC general secretary also said, "Truly a wonderful story. This is governance through quiet persuasion and not governance through headlines."

"Reflecting on those years, I firmly believe, 'Sheila Dikshit Ji's government's first six years were the most productive phase. She fought not for power, but for the betterment of Delhi. Power privatization, CNG conversion, Metro launch, construction of flyovers, hospitals, schools - they all happened because she fought tirelessly for Delhi," Maken said.
"Her lessons of leadership and diplomacy continue to guide me. She taught me to tackle obstacles skillfully, to serve with a clear focus on the city's welfare. To offer tea and pakoras when needed, and to stand firm when required. That's Sheila Ji's legacy, a guide to serving public interest above all else'," the Congress leader said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: May 21 2023 | 8:44 PM IST

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