Chanakya Niti: Kejriwal's battle against L-G Jung is all about taking AAP national

The Centre’s decision to challenge the High Court order on the notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in the Supreme Court may not affect the Delhi CM even if it doesn’t go in favour of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.

Debobrat Ghose May 29, 2015 12:55:26 IST
Chanakya Niti: Kejriwal's battle against L-G Jung is all about taking AAP national

New Delhi: What does Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal read before going to bed? Nobody knows. But a wild guess is it could be ‘Chanakya Niti,’ especially the line that says 'foe’s enemy is one’s friend.'

In his ongoing tussle with the Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Najeeb Jung, Kejriwal has created a firewall against the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi by reaching out to non-BJP, non-Congress political satraps of India such as Mamata Banerjee and Nitish Kumar for support.

It’s an unprecedented move for any state chief minister in India to attempt tie-ups with other chief ministers of other political parties who may have common grouse against the Centre. Simple math suggests that if all these chief ministers do come together against the Modi government, they will make up good enough numbers to make noise on the floor of the Parliament.

The Centre’s decision to challenge the High Court order on the notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in the Supreme Court may not affect the Delhi CM even if it doesn’t go in favour of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.

Meanwhile, Kejriwal, according to the sources, has written to chief ministers apprising them of the situation regarding the ongoing power tussle between the Centre and Delhi government.

Chanakya Niti Kejriwals battle against LG Jung is all about taking AAP national

Kejriwal's national ambitions are shining through.

KC Tyagi, JD(U) MP said, “We are in full agreement with Arvind Kejriwal. In 1990 during the VP Singh government, BJP’s Madanlal Khurana brought the proposal for Delhi’s statehood and now when it’s in power at the Centre, it’s not ready to accept it. In Delhi, the AAP government got a big mandate and it’s an elected government. The Sarkaria Commission gave limited powers to the L-G. The Delhi CM, the L-G and the Home Minister should jointly discuss and resolve the issue for the benefit of Delhi. One should remember Delhi is not just another union territory like Andaman & Nicobar or Dadra & Nagar Haveli. It’s the national capital and, its CM should have the power to make appointments and take decisions, rather than depending on Centre for each and every issue; or else how can he fulfill the promises he made to Delhi voters.”

He further added, “Nitishji and Mamata Banerjee have extended their support for Kejriwal. Delhi must get statehood. The Centre should make necessary amendments and provide more power to Delhi government.”

The Left also is in agreement with the JD (U) and feels that Kejriwal is right in his stand against the Centre.

Badal Saroj, Central Committee member of the CPI (M) said, “Both Narendra Modi and the BJP are unable to accept the loss they faced in Delhi election. Now, through this irresponsible L-G, who’s dancing to the tunes of the Centre, it has been trying to control Delhi government. Delhi has an elected government and if its CM, who got a sweeping majority, can’t take decisions of his own, how can he function? The Centre by curtailing outlays, has reduced the states to the level of municipal corporations. The BJP also demanded statehood for Delhi, but now it’s not ready to give power to Delhi government.”

Added a Trinamool Congress member from Kolkata, “The BJP at the Centre is ill-treating the Delhi government exactly in the same manner as it has been doing with other non-BJP state governments. This will jeopardize the Centre-State relationship and the federal structure.”

Both in the past and at present, the power sharing between the Centre and the States has been the bone of contention. While, the Centre through its ‘appointed’ representative-- the L-G, tries to have a control over the administration of a union territory, which in the case of Delhi is little different. Though Delhi isn’t a full state, it enjoys some of the privileges of a state like it has its elected CM, Assembly, etc. The AAP during election had promised that it would seek full statehood for Delhi. So, did the BJP. But, nothing happened in this direction and Kejriwal is not ready to relent on this issue.

Probably, he wants to send the message --‘What Modi is to India, Kejriwal is to Delhi’, and Kejriwal has decided to use both the public sentiment, which is strongly in his favour and the support from non-BJP parties in the other states in order to pressurise the Centre, which has apparently tried to curb the authority of Delhi CM through the L-G and notifications.

Supreme Court advocate Sunil Mathews opined, “He is using this as a weapon to whip up popular sentiments against the centre and ride on it to a separate state of Delhi. That is a separate political ploy, which may work given our history in which states have come into being riding on disenchantment such as in Telangana. On the Gorkhaland front, this hasn't worked. So it may cut both ways, politically.”

He added, “Eventually, the Supreme Court may just rule against it, given that Delhi is a union territory and its powers --executive and legislative can both be curtailed by the Parliament. On the plea of transfers and postings, he may get some leeway. Surely, the state can write to the centre seeking action against corrupt officials. If the centre says no in a particular case, then create a storm, like Kejriwal did. This is a logical extension of the anarchist principle that he used last time as chief minister.”
Even the bureaucracy, which is at the centre of this power tussle, considers the situation to be more political than a constitutional crisis.

A senior bureaucrat, who is in know of things said on condition of anonymity, “Behind this entire power tussle between the L-G and Delhi government, Kejriwal’s motive can be to emerge at a national level, by aligning with the non-BJP states. Instead of constitutional, Kejriwal’s moves seem to be more political.”

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