Files pile up as Khattar-Vij tussle drags on - Hindustan Times
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Files pile up as Khattar-Vij tussle drags on

By, Chandigarh
Nov 23, 2023 10:05 PM IST

Stuck in this logjam are over 900 files of the health department, official records show. As per Vij’s own admission, he has not cleared a single file of the health department after October 5.

Nearly seven weeks after cabinet minister Anil Vij stopped signing files of the health department, the logjam continues even as Haryana chief minister (CM) Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday said the matter will be resolved shortly.

Haryana chief minister (CM) Manohar Lal Khattar and cabinet minister Anil Vij have been having frequent run-ins over administration issues. (HT File)
Haryana chief minister (CM) Manohar Lal Khattar and cabinet minister Anil Vij have been having frequent run-ins over administration issues. (HT File)

“This issue is in my knowledge. I had talked to him (Vij),” said chief minister Khattar, in what was his first public reaction to the issue that has hit the administrative functioning of the health department in the absence of the minister clearing the files.

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“There are certain issues related to the administration...and how to resolve them is an internal matter...speaking publicly on such issues is not in the interest of the system...we will resolve this matter soon,” said Khattar when asked why the health minister was not clearing the files and if Vij’s stand is tantamount to rebellion.

Stuck in this logjam are over 900 files of the health department, official records show. As per Vij’s own admission, he has not cleared a single file of the health department after October 5.

Not just this, whenever people from the state, MLAs, or ministers come to take up a health department issue, Vij has been directing them to go to the CMO on the fourth floor of the Civil Secretariat.

“I have stopped functioning as health minister...don’t you know this,” is what Vij has been telling all those visiting his eight-floor office at the Civil Secretariat.

The health minister has been openly airing his grouse to all his visitors and has been telling them that the prime reason behind his resolve to not deal with the health department matters was the alleged interference by the chief minister’s office (CMO).

Two weeks ago, chief minister Khattar had called Vij and the duo discussed the hot-button issue.

In various conversations with HT, on his latest run-in with Khattar, Vij has repeatedly said that the ball was in the court of the CM.

In fact, the latest tussle between Vij and Khattar is so intense that if it is not defused at the earliest, it has the potential to develop into a major political storm.

“The CM has to take a call on the issues I have been raising regarding the health department,” Vij had said when asked how this impasse will end.

The sparks of the cold war between Vij, who is a six-time MLA and chief minister Khattar often keep surfacing. Over a year ago when Khattar expanded his cabinet, Vij was divested of the urban local bodies department, which was given to BJP’s Hisar MLA Kamal Gupta.

The latest tough stance of Vij comes close on the heels of his differences with the chief minister Khattar over handling of communal riots in Nuh in July. Then Vij had said that he had not received any intelligence input on a possible build-up of tension in violence-hit Nuh. Vij had also stated that he didn’t know about July 31 Nuh riots till 3pm and that top police and government functionaries were clueless and that he was first informed about the clashes by a private individual.

Vij, who also holds the home department, has been locking horns with the CMO on issues pertaining to the home department also. On Wednesday too, Vij refused to toe the line of the CMO on a file about deputation of Haryana-cadre IPS officers in Chandigarh.

But caught in the crossfire are top ranking officers.

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