As Delhi gears up to host the G20 summit on 9 and 10 September, the Capital has been spruced up beyond recognition and anything unsightly has been hidden from view. The city will be in virtual lockdown for three days as holidays have been declared for offices, educational institutions and non-essential business establishments. Security agencies are working overtime to ensure that there is no breach. Metro stations, flyovers, roundabouts have all been given a fresh coat of paint. Fancy illuminations and colourful fountains abound along the route that G20 leaders’ cavalcades will pass. Amid this frenzy of last-minute preparations, an ugly spat has broken out between the Centre and the Delhi government over who should take the credit for the city’s revamp. At a time when India should put its best foot forward, there is no room for this kind of petty squabbling. Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena’s charge that he had to step in and take over the preparations as the AAP government was dragging its feet was countered by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who blamed it on the laxity of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi which was responsible for keeping the city clean. The MCD had been under BJP rule till last year. However, Kejriwal did call for a stop to the blame game as the Capital will be hosting international guests.
While the Delhi BJP claimed that Central departments were involved in the beautification drive, the Delhi government averred that it had provided all the funds for the beautification with nothing forthcoming from the Centre. Delhi minister Atishi also claimed that she had not been invited to any preparatory meetings for the G20 summit. Whatever the truth of the matter, it is now time to set aside differences and ensure the success of the event. It is India that will be on centre stage and the nation must take precedence over individuals.