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
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
But first about Delhi L-G Vs
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 - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/