The question of who will inaugurate the east Delhi campus of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU) on Thursday has become a bone of contention between Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena’s office and the elected government.
Raj Niwas sources on Wednesday said they were “shocked” after Education Minister Atishi told reporters a day earlier that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will do the inauguration. They added she and the CM knew that Mr. Saxena is scheduled to open the campus at Surajmal Vihar.
Hitting back, Ms. Atishi said the L-G should not forget that education, higher education and technical education are “transferred subjects” under the Aam Aadmi Party government.
‘CM, Atishi only guests’
According to a Raj Niwas official, “[Mr. Kejriwal and Ms. Atishi] were aware they are supposed to attend the event as the guest of honour and distinguished guest, respectively. In fact, the CM had asked for the date to be shifted from May 23 to accommodate his schedule and accordingly, it was moved to June 8.”
The official said the CM was “fully aware” that GGSIPU had in March requested the L-G to do the inauguration. He added that before her press conference, Ms. Atishi attended the university’s 15th convocation on Tuesday, where Vice-Chancellor Mahesh Verma said Mr. Saxena would throw open the new campus.
“The new campus was conceptualised in 2013 and its foundation stone laid on December 14, 2014 by then HRD Minister Smriti Irani. Even after AAP came to power in February 2015, no concrete movement had happened,” the official said.
“GGSIPU itself funded the construction at a cost of ₹387 crore, of which the Delhi government’s share was ₹41 crore. Even this money was paid in three instalments, the last of which was released on June 5,” he added.
‘Unbecoming of L-G’
Responding in a statement, Ms. Atishi said, “It is highly unbecoming of an L-G to try to steal credit for the elected government’s work, he should not indulge in such petty politics.”
“The campus being inaugurated is part of three State university campuses the Kejriwal government is developing in the Trans-Yamuna region, along with the NSUT east campus and the DTU east campus.
“It is public knowledge that this campus was the brainchild and dream project of [former Delhi Minister] Manish Sisodia. Right from its planning, supervising its construction and curriculum, he has been involved in every aspect of the project, well before the present L-G was sent to Delhi,” she added.