Indian politics: Double-speaking BJP virtually rules out full statehood for Delhi!
Dr. Abdul Ruff
India proudly claims to be the largest democracy on earth but in fact not entirely comprehending the meaning of the concept democracy. Democracy is more than the mere elections that are won by money-muscle-media power; it encompasses many aspects of nation’s life: politics, policies, nature of society and social and economic relations, the status of common people – to name a few.
Indian government frantically seeking a veto on the discredited UNSC although there a other stronger nations making no such claims overtly, but it systematically denies Delhi state full statehood which it deserves.
It is crudely unfortunate that Indian government for years has denied Delhi its legitimate full statehood so that Delhi government, irrespective of which party governs it, can function as a truly representative entity to serve the people of Delhi, especially the common people.
Earlier it was Congress party which claimed to be the sole custodians of India and its system, shutting door on the very face of Delhiites who demanded full statehood to reap all benefits of a normal state, now it is the turn of its secret ally BJP – the other side of same arrogant coin – to turn down the elected government and Delhiites for statehood. This demand has been there for years now.
Even though the ultra Hindutva BJP and soft Hindutva Congress pursue similar policies, if not the same, they just pretend to be fighting each other. BJP is doing exactly what the Congress party did for too long in India.
Sympathy for people is missing in both national parties that willingly showcase their arrogance as ruling dispensation.
For the first time in Delhi’s political history that a party other than these two national parties has come to power – a popular new party Aam Admi Party (AAP) fully committed to the welfare e of common people and assumed power in Delhi for the second consecutive time by blowing off both largest Indian national parties as Delhiites are increasingly fed up their politics and policies promoting the corporates and causing price rises and other problems for common masses.
The issue of appointing top executive officals directly by the Lt Governor instead of the Delhi government doing it at par with other governments has snowballed into a feeble demand by Delhiites for full statehood for Delhi state.
On the ongoing controversy between the Lt Governor and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal over appointment of officers, he said people of Delhi were waiting for governance by the elected government even after 100 days of being in power. “The elected government should strive and the public is waiting for 100 days that within the domain of those rights, it initiates steps to provide governance in Delhi,” he said.
Kejriwal and the Lieutenant Governor, whose working relationship has never been smooth, plummeted into their latest battle over an IAS officer described by the Chief Minister as a “lobbyist for power companies”. She was picked by Governor Jung as Acting Chief Secretary or the senior-most bureaucrat in the Delhi government. Kejriwal has claimed that an elected government cannot be saddled with bureaucrats against its choice, a stand that has been backed by other heads of state governments. To Delhi government should have the right to appoint officals who can willingly help the government in fulfilling popular aspirations without hurdles.
The rights not given to their elected governments rest with the Central government that uses Lt Governor to issue orders and those rights are exercised by the Lt Governor. The Centre put its weight behind Delhi LG who has been given absolute powers in appointment of bureaucrats and he need not “consult” the chief minister on subjects like transfer of senior officers, police and public order. Arun added that there is no scope for any grey area.
Kejriwal had retaliated to the notification by the Home Ministry, issued on May 21, by accusing the Centre of “betraying the people of Delhi” and attempting to protect corrupt officers. Reiterating his allegation of the BJP using the Lieutenant Governor to govern Delhi by proxy, he said, “The Prime Minister’s Office acts like the Queen of England used to, with the Lieutenant Governor as Viceroy.” The BJP, he said, is trying to “run Delhi with three MLAs”; his Aam Aadmi Party has the remaining 67 seats in the state legislature.
Amid a raging row over exercise of powers in Delhi, Central government run by PM Modi on May 23 said that full statehood rights cannot be given to Delhi government unless there is a general consensus in the country on the issue as it is the national capital. The Minister said Delhi, though a state is also a Union Territory, which is today’s constitutional truth and Union Territories are under the Centre, but Delhi and Puducherry that have elected governments have separate arrangements, where some constitutional rights have been given to them.
The Aam Aadmi Party government has called for a two-day emergency session of the Delhi assembly from May 26 to discuss the central Home Ministry’s notification giving absolute powers to the Lieutenant Governor in appointment of bureaucrats and clarifying that he need not “consult” the chief minister on subjects like police and public order. The decision for the emergency assembly was taken in a cabinet meeting chaired by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today. The Assembly session was originally scheduled for June. Meanwhile top leaders of ruling AAP have met at the residence of CM Kejriwal to discuss the Indian Home ministry’s directive to present proposals to the state Assembly..
When Congress party was ruling Delhi, BJP and other parties demanded full statehood for Delhi but when in power, BJP misbehaves with the people just like Congress does. Senior Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said whenever there will be general consensus in the country on giving full statehood status to the national capital, it is possible. But till that is not done, full statehood rights cannot be given to the state government. He was asked about BJP’s views on granting full statehood to Delhi, as promised by it in the past. He, however, noted that the confusion over rights exercised by the Centre and the elected government would lead to “offices being shut down” and to avoid that the Home Ministry had issued the classificatory notification. ” And to ensure offices are not shut, it is Centre’s responsibility to clarify and Home Ministry has fulfilled that responsibility by issuing a classificatory notification to make it clear what rights rest with the Centre and what with the elected government,” he said.
Arvind Kejriwal Government of Delhi had attacked the Centre over the notification, accusing it of trying to rule Delhi through the backdoor and protect the corrupt.
BJP as well as Congress, claiming to be literally owning India, argue since Delhi is the national capital of India, it cannot be granted full statehood.
AAP has a pledge before people of Delhi as well as India to commit to genuine causes of common people. A corrupt society, obviously, is not in the realm of democracy.
It is one of most ridiculous arguments to deny all privileges Delhiites do deserve. When India and Delhi were ruled by one and the same party or a strategic allies like Congress and BJP there were no problems but now there is the new reality, the reality of AAP , unexpected by the parties. Old national parties have to come to terms with the new reality.
Central government is duty bound to protect the genuine interests of Delhiites and Delhi state and it can do so only by granting Delhi full statehood.