Government of anarchy: Kejriwal's many battles sideline Delhi's aam aadmi

In power for nearly four months, the Kejriwal government has constantly been embroiled in some feud or the other. First, it got into a nasty fight with its own founding members and then, the ongoing tussle with the L-G over the sharing of power has brought administration and governance in the capital to a standstill.

Debobrat Ghose June 11, 2015 09:01:23 IST
Government of anarchy: Kejriwal's many battles sideline Delhi's aam aadmi

“I’m an anarchist”.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had declared thus in 2014 during his first 49-day stint in power.

He may or may not have meant it literally, but a series of disturbing incidents since he formed the government for the second time in Delhi, prove that his mega statement of 2014 might just have been his inner voice.

The unending tussle for power between Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Najeeb Jung -- a representative of the Centre -- and Kejriwal is getting murkier by the day, and even denying the citizens of Delhi the right to have a functioning government.

While the Delhi government has accused the Modi-government of highhandedness, a perception has been created as if it’s a political fight between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the BJP.

In power for nearly four months, the Kejriwal government has constantly been embroiled in some feud or the other. First, it got into a nasty fight with its own founding members and then, the ongoing tussle with the L-G over the sharing of power has brought administration and governance in the capital to a standstill.

Now the latest: Delhi Law Minister Jitender Singh Tomar’s arrest has sent the government into a controversy likely to cripple its administrative functioning yet again. The AAP has already jumped into the political battlefield in the issue by giving Tomar’s arrest a political spin. It has called the arrest a ‘political vendetta’ – a revenge of the BJP against AAP for losing election in Delhi.

Government of anarchy Kejriwals many battles sideline Delhis aam aadmi

File photo of Arvind Kejriwal.

The party’s latest theatrics notwithstanding, the fact remains that nearly half of the national Capital is now reeling under acute water shortage and irregular supply of electricity in the searing summer, even as AAP ministers and MLAs get busy trying to pull Tomar out of the crisis.

That leaves the common man, the aam aadmi, at the receiving end as governance gets relegated to the back burner.

Former chief secretary of Delhi, Omesh Saigal said, “Entire administration has got paralysed. Governance has virtually taken a backseat due to the ongoing tussle between the L-G and the AAP government. Such kind of anarchy is unheard of in a democratic setup. No one disputes that Kejriwal should get more power, but now it should be through court, rather than bulldozing his way to get it. The CM is creating anarchy. Ultimately, in the long run, the people of Delhi will suffer.”

Questions are increasingly being raised on the promises that Kejriwal had made to his voters prior to the election. After coming to power, the AAP government ensured discounted electricity and the supply of 20,000 litres of free water to a household, yet the capital city is still suffering from inequitable distribution of water. The resettlement and unauthorised colonies, and slum-dwellers are facing acute shortage of water. Many areas of Delhi are reeling under severe power cuts. One can easily find garbage dumped in many residential areas and by the road side.

Senior journalist and former editor, India Today (Hindi), Jagdish Upasane said, "The way the AAP government is trying to blame the Centre for each and every action, shows incompetence on their part. The way they have manhandled its officers, including the latest – shunting of Delhi’s Home secretary, a day will come when no one would work with this government. The governance and administrative machinery in Delhi is gradually getting crippled. Delhi is in chaos. There’s severe water and power shortage in many areas.

"The Delhi public voted AAP to power not to face these tantrums. People want good governance. Kejriwal should stop playing victim and blaming others. He needs to come out of the Don Quixote syndrome and focus on delivering to what he had promised, or else the Delhi voters will desert him."

The ongoing crisis in Delhi has given rise to a political mistrust between the AAP and the BJP. It’s the BJP that calls shots in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). The feud has resulted into inaction on part of sanitation works, who have failed to get their outstanding salaries. Besides sanitation workers, the Delhi government doesn’t have the money to pay the pending salaries of MCD doctors and teachers. The ultimate victim is the aam aadmi.

Political commentator Neerja Chowdhury said, “This kind of an open war between the L-G and the CM never happened in Delhi earlier. It’s affecting governance badly. The constitution doesn’t work just on letter, but on spirit. As Delhi isn’t a full state, it’s governed within a constitutional framework and in the ambit of law. Despite that if the CM doesn’t get to function freely, how could he deliver? However, as the tussle has now moved to the courtroom, both sides should show restraint while reacting.”

Delhi BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay said, “AAP stands for ‘Allegation, Agitation and Propaganda’. Arvind Kejriwal came to power on the planks of water, electricity and anti-corruption. What happened to the Jan Lokpal Bill? Lokayukta has not been appointed, because the CM wants to save his two ministers and 10 MLAs. There is no governance in Delhi right now.”

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