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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2759

India: Does BJP plan to impose president’s rule in Delhi state against the will of Delhiites?

By Dr. Abdul Ruff

The historic battle for Delhi state was won by the Aam Admi party of Arvind Kejriwal by drowning in the River Yamuna both Congress and BJP parties - the former rulers of Delhi. Obviously both BJP and Congress have reasons to feel belittled by a new political outfit.

The pain is intolerable for the BJP which is ruling India and had won all parliamentary seats in Delhi just a couple of months before Delhi poll. But the Lt governor of Delhi Jung too seems to be feeling the Hindutva pinch.

Since BJP has lost face in Delhi poll soon after its landslide parliamentary victory and is eager to discredit the AAP government and Kejriwal. And hence the centre is using Lt Governor of Delhi, who is one of a few governors the BJP upon coming to power in the country last year has not sacked so far. Perhaps in order to save his job in Delhi Lt Governor Jung tries to fight with AAP government which has become a painful thorn in the throats of both Congress and BJP.

Delhi’s Lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung appointed by the previous Congress led UPA government and the elected government led by AAP’s Aam Admi Party seem to continue their power struggle even after the people of Delhi state gave an overwhelming majority to rule the state by protecting its genuine state interests as well as the interests of Delhiites, especially the common people of the Indian capital to which Kejriwal and his AAP government are duty bound to commit themselves.

As the Modi government has given a free hand to Lt Governor Jung to deal with AAP government, an intense power struggle is going on in Delhi over who should control a state like Delhi with an elected government - Chief minster or Lt Governor? While BJP sources quote the constitution, the top lawyers of the Supreme Court support the AAP CM in choosing Principal Chief Secretary. Delhi High court has upheld the Delhi CM’s position.

Clearly, the central government run by BJP and opposition Congress party are busy in destabilizing the popular Aam Aadmi Party government. Lt. Governor Jung, appointed by the Congress regime but retained, so far, by the Modi government, has joined them and has begun creating problems for the AAP government on behalf of Modi government although they all know Delhi people see thorough all dirty tricks of these big people.

Congress-BJP duo also knows that Delhiites consider the AAP as their own party though run by the Kejriwal team. Both BJP and Congress are growing impatient knowing unless AAP is effectively contained, their own chances of returning to power in Delhi anytime in future is doomed and AAP could grow further and spread across the nation. Further, if AAP is allowed to function, many leaders of Congress and BJP would switch to AAP.

Hence they want to project AAP as a problem party not needed in India which keeps fighting the Central government while governance becomes causality. However, the AAP government is very cautious about the oldest political outfits with corrupt legacies. The AAP is successfully battling the media persons of BJP on TV channels to present a true picture of the problem.

While Delhi state is being governed by a duly elected government by winning a record 67 seats out of 70, the central government thinks it has the prerogative to deal with the Kejriwal government the way they feel fit. The central government shamelessly uses the shaky Lf Governor Jung, a less known Congress Muslim but now being forced to work under BJP government and could be replaced any time. Jung doesn’t want to quit with dignity.

Lt Governor wants to get the sympathy of the Hindutva government of PM Modi plays all sorts of constitutional gimmicks to showcase his power to harm the elected government with a perfect mandate. According to Indian constitution, the Delhi state’s Lt Governor is duty bound to issue orders of appointments only on the advice of the elected government. But Lt. Governor Jung, appointed by the previous corrupt Congress government, has violated the constitution by appointing chief secretary of Delhi state without consulting the elected Kejriwal government, thereby spoiling the centre – state relations. Governor Jung claims he needs not need CM Kejriwal’s of his government’s counseling in appointing the top bureaucrats and he knows everything about constitution.

Apparently Lt Governor Jung as a Congress man under the corrupt BJP dispensation that refuses, like Congress, to bring back to India huge black money laundered by those close to these two parties, is interested in protecting corrupt officals and politicians in Delhi who either belonging to Congress /BJP or support them. While governor is trying to shield the corrupt criminals, the Modi government of India is not interested in targeting the corrupt people in Delhi. Congress-BJP duo expects the rich and corporates to take on a rising AAP.

The AAP government is not the first ever elected government of Delhi state. Before Kejriwal there were CMs, including Sheila Dikshit of Congress and also BJP CMs. There were Lt Governors too. On full statehood issue, Delhi government and Indian government were locked in horns but Lt Government ever came to the surface. But today, Lt Governor decides everything and in order to appease the Modi government for survival he is eager to dethrone the Kejriwal government.

Fortunately for AAP and Delhi, the High Court of Delhi proclaimed a judgment favoring the stance of Delhi government and criticized the Lt Governor for imposing his “constitutional” will on Delhi state and people. But the central government has run to Supreme court for support. The Modi government argues, through the Lt Governor, that Delhi state is a Union territory and is under central government and the Lt Governor rules Delhi and the elected CM is like Municipal chairman. Such arguments were never extended during Sheila Dikshit tenure because she was Congress party’s CM.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Government in Delhi had earlier decided to hire six officers for the ACB from Bihar, one Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and five Inspectors and Sub-Inspectors. Delhi government before Kejriwal became CM had used recruit officals from other states on anti-corruption duty. But when Kejriwal government asked for officers from Bihar in the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB), central government got panicky because many people supported by BJP and Congress would be in trouble. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) quickly alleged that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was creating 'unnecessary controversy' by roping in officers from Bihar in the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB), adding that the latter should focus on fulfilling the promises made to the people of the state. " It is evident that this is something which is not tenable, that is why the state governments are finding it difficult to concede to this requirement”

In Delhi state, all lands belong to central government. Delhi government asks for lands to construct schools and bus depots. But the Modi government refuses to oblige the Delhiites and accuses the Kejriwal government of not delivering on promises of 500 new schools, 15 lakh CCTV cams and 900 primary health centers, etc. The BJP asks the AAP government to perform. Big joke from top jokers?

Apparently, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, the Delhi Police and Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA Government at the Centre are trying to scare the AAP Government by intimidating, arresting and using court cases. The arrest of Delhi Law Minister Jitendra Tomar by Delhi police on orders from LT Governor in connection with the fake degree certificate row looks like a crude joke on Indian constitution. It reminds Indians of Emergency era of Congress party. Tomar has been facing charges that the education certificates submitted by him while filing nomination for Delhi Assembly polls earlier this year were fake. The entire matter concerning Jitendra Tomar is in the court. Even an answer was filed by the university, saying his degrees were not fake, but real. Then, why this arrest? Was this arrest made to create pressure? “LG, Delhi Police Commissioner and Modi government are trying to scare us by court cases and jails? We are not afraid of these things... Our fight against corruption will continue," an AAP party leader Singh told ANI. Tomar was arrested by Delhi Police this morning and taken to the Hauz Khas police station in connection with the fake certificate row.

Interestingly, Delhi police, controlled by Lt Governor, earlier said it did not arrest Delhi law minister Tomar but only detained him. But now the police has asked the court to keep Tomar in police custody for a week. Delhi police also controls Delhi government.

Governor Jung has sought to assert his authority by directing top officials to route all important files through him as per constitutional framework and laid down procedures. The L-G also made it clear that the role of the CM and the council of ministers was to aid and advise him, while he was entitled to act solely on his own discretion.

CM Kejriwal is determined to obtain full statehood for Delhi state and his actions are directed towards that constructive end. Supported by BJP, the Congress led UPA government had created a new state called Telengana by bifurcating erstwhile Andhra Pradesh and one wonders what will India lose if Delhi is made a full-fledged state so that the elected state government can deliver the election promises given to people without depending on the central government or governor that put spanner into wheel of state governance.

In order to put to end government vs. governor standoff, Delhi state needs to become a full state and AAP could launch a small scale agitation to press the central government and obtain full statehood for Delhi.

Obviously, the central government does not want to see a corruption free Delhi state or India as the Modi government does not want make India corruption free people’s democracy that would work for common people. BJP, like Congress party is yet to reconcile with new reality as it still finds intolerable about Delhi defeat as they had put all their muscle behind these elections.

In order to defend the Delhi state’s ambition, as well as Delhiites’, to become a full fledged state of India as per the poll pledges, Delhi CM may have assumed the role of an agitational CM, instead of enjoying the powers and privileges that go with the CM post, as being advised by BJP and Congress party – both want Kejriwal to adopt a friendly posture to get things done for Delhi from central government.

There are so many ministers in the Modi government, MPs, MLAs but why does not arrest all of them? AAP says even Modi’s Education minister herself is facing similar case. Nothing happens to them. Only AAP minister has been arrested because Delhi government has opened the corruption cases involving some Congress and BJP leaders. It is a case of federal vendetta. Sad affairs!

BJP and Congress are not impressed by the fact that Kejriwal is still India’s most favored leader, still adamant about anti-corruption agenda and does not allow bureaucrats to promote corruption as the usual state policy. They believe without encouraging corruption there cannot be any developments.

A pathetically looking bold BJP should be happy that it rules Delhi state indirectly, notwithstanding the drubbing by Delhiites. Even as the BJP government is busy containing the Delhi government undermining the popular mandate of the elected Delhi government, CM Kejriwal is breezing through his poll promises and that what scares BJP and Congress. Indeed Kejriwal is the future of India. People need him and his committed AAP.

Is BJP trying to impose president’s rule in Delhi by enacting such confrontational political gimmicks?

- Asian Tribune -

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