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Is Arvind Kejriwal’s political dream to go pan-India coming to an end?

It seems that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is never far away from controversy. His government recently found itself mired in another political storm after the Shunglu Committee charged his government of illegal allotment of land, unauthorised foreign trips and charges of nepotism.

 

The report was obtained by Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken through a Right to Information (RTI) query filed by him.

In August last year, the Delhi High Court ruled that the LG is the administrative head of Delhi and said decisions taken by the Delhi government without consulting him were illegal.

On August 30, 2016, former Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung formed a three-member committee headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General V K Shunglu to investigate charges of irregularities in decisions taken by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.

The Shunglu committee scrutinised 404 files of Delhi government and submitted its report to the Lieutenant Governor in November 2016. Some of the key observations made in the report were the appointment of Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain’s daughter Soumya Jain, who is an architect, who was made an adviser to the Mohalla Clinic project, which has been mentioned as a case of nepotism. The report notes that her CV does not have the expertise she needs to have for the role.

Some 24 non-statutory foreign tours were taken by the government ministers and official in 18 months period, alleged Delhi Congress Chief. AAP allotted government bungalow 206, Rouse Avenue for party purposes. The appointment of Nikunj Agarwal, a relative of Kejriwal’s wife without any vacancy for the post.

The AAP government has also been in the news for the payment of legal fees for CM from its pocket in the defamation case filed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

The Delhi government was also in a controversy for spending 85 percent of money allotted for advertisement outside Delhi.

Recent drubbing in state assembly elections and dip in online popularity

The party suffered a major setback in the recently concluded state assembly polls of Punjab and Goa. In Punjab, the party was expected to form a government and do reasonably well.

But trouble began after the AAP was accused of running the state unit through remote control in Delhi.

There was also confusion after speculation arose that Arvind Kejriwal will become the CM of Punjab and remove Punjab head Sucha Singh Chhottepur over bribe allegation, all of which likely weighed on AAP’s chances.

In Goa, the party was not able to open an account.

Ahead of the MCD polls, many party leaders who have not been happy with the central leadership are planning to switch alliances.

In a survey conducted by PEW Research last year, the popularity for Arvind Kejriwal has been on a decline with only 50 percent viewing him favourably as against 60 percent in 2015. The report also notes that AAP approval rating is down and its favourability is declining.

It needs to be seen whether Arvind Kejriwal can take forward his national ambition or will remain confined to Delhi.

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