We all are feeling ‘obfuscated’ by this vitiating atmosphere. Some of us had faintly, vaguely hoped that they would hesitate in taking the matter further after meeting Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India.
Yes, we had no way to know what transpired in two meetings on May 19, even if Manish Sisodia, the deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, expressed satisfaction and called a meeting of all secretaries last morning.
But we hoped the situation would not be so flared up and tense yesterday.
But the ‘yesterday’ in the political logbook of Delhi saw an even bitter display of the hostility between two topmost functionaries – the Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung, the Constitutional representative of the Union Government, in this case the National Democratic Alliance’s government led by Narendra Modi of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) – and the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) who take reins of the city-state for the second time this February.
Though we did not hear much about the proposed meeting of Delhi secretaries that Manish Sisodia had called after meeting the President, Delhi saw a lengthy meeting of IAS officers last evening. Reportedly, the IAS officers of AGMUT cadre are displeased with the AAP and Arvind Kejriwal’s government and had called the meeting to deliberate over the resultant issues.
But first about Delhi L-G Vs Delhi CM.
After meeting the President, Kejriwal shot a letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi blaming the Union Government of trying to run Delhi through the Delhi L-G.
In response, Jung, furthering the letter war and taking it to an even more bitter level, cancelled all the appointments by the Delhi government in the past four days. In a letter sent to Kejriwal, Jung alleged the government of ‘obfuscating’ the atmosphere in Delhi by interpreting the Constitution in Kejriwal’s own way, and he blamed it was in violation of the norms.
The battle got worsened, on a day we hoped to get some sort of restraint. Jung cancelled all bureaucratic appointments where he was not consulted. On the other hand, Kejriwal has ordered his officials to not consult the L-G in Delhi government’s matters.
Kejriwal hit back on L-G’s letter asking him under what provisions of Indian Constitution, Delhi Act and Transaction of Business Rules in the context empowered him to do so.
And in the line of fire are the officials the Civil Services.
The Delhi L-G is asking them to not obey the Delhi CM and the Delhi CM is asking them to not follow the orders of the Delhi L-G. And they don’t know whom to follow. IAS officers of Delhi termed the treatment being meted out to them in words like ‘harassment, character assassination and public humiliation’ in the meeting.
What else can we say when Manish Sisodia openly says that they were operating a ‘transfer-posting’ industry in Delhi. We are not left with any options but to think so when office of a secretary is sealed by the Delhi Government for following orders of the L-G. We don’t know if Shakuntala Gamlin is pro-corporate but Arvind Kejriwal criticises her publicly. Delhi Government alleged she was acting for a corporate house and it wanted to remove her from power secretary post, yet she figured in Manish Sisodia’s list sent to the L-G to shortlist the acting chief secretary. With objectionable points like this, what else can we think?
The follow up of the controversy may throw two consequences. IAS officers of Delhi may take a tough stand and openly rebel. Or the Delhi government may come up with the proposal to withdraw the completely IAS cadre from service under it.
Union Government, so far, has not reacted on affairs in Delhi. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has advised L-G and CM to sit together and resolve the deadlock. But, the Centre discussed the issue with Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi yesterday. Also, the state unite of the party is blaming the AAP for Constitutional crisis in Delhi. Vijender Gupta met the President today to demand his intervention in the matter.
We hoped yesterday would be a day of restraint after meetings with the President. That didn’t happen. We now hope the President would release a response in the matter to clarify the Constitutional position in Delhi as the concerned parties decided not to follow his verbal advice.
But we have to say its effectiveness would be doubtful if it comes out to be anti-AAP response. Kejriwal and his government may continue with the stand in that case. Court would be then the final place then to resolve the crisis.
Delhi has not seen such situation before – tension between the Delhi L-G and the Delhi CM so scaled up.
Due to unique nature of Delhi, being a city-state and the national capital of India, it is governed by different set of laws than other Union Territories including Pondicherry. The different set of laws derive from the Indian Constitution, different provisions of the GNCTD Act and the Transaction of Business rules and the Union Government has a serious stake in running it.
And that it does through its representative, the Lieutenant-Governor. In fact, many important administrative aspects of Delhi, i.e., law and order, security and lands are with the Union Government. Delhi Police and Delhi Development Authority are not under the Delhi CM. All three municipal corporations of Delhi are ruled by the BJP.
Delhi’s ruling politicians and bureaucrats, so far, have found a mid-way to get out of the situation arising out of this segregation of responsibilities – of two power centres in the Capital. Even Tejendra Khanna was not a titular head even if Congress had governments, both in Delhi and at Union level.
Kejriwal wants to change that. He wants supremacy of his elected government. He wants Delhi Police under his control. He wants Delhi to be recognized as full state. During his previous term of 49 days, he even sat on a protest for it.
And the recent episode of the controversy with the Delhi L-G has its origin in his such aspirations. The controversy that began with the appointment of Shakuntala Gamlin will see its conclusion in a court if the warring parties do not listen to the President.
That may be a blessing in disguise because laws governing Delhi presents a shady, grey area that has divided even the Constitutional experts. The court ruling in that case would be the final word then.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/