Inch by inch, word by word, clause by clause, the AAP government’s fight to get work passed from the Lieutenant Governor continues in Delhi. AAP proposes, LG disposes. This onslaught of crass systemic stubbornness from the LG is making people impatient. Despite coming with the clearest mandate with 67 out of 70 seats, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has found resistance from the LG, allegedly at the behest of the Prime Minister’s Office.
The BJP under Modi and Shah, which only knows the taste and smell of victory, was reduced to a one-digit figure in Delhi’s 2015 assembly elections where it just managed to get 3 out of the 70 seats. Such was the AAPocalypse that Congress, the oldest party run by scions of Gandhi family, failed to secure even a single seat. For BJP and Congress, this newest and fastest growing AAP became the real competition thus the real threat. From Congress and BJP ganging up in Delhi Vidhan Sabha in 2014 to oppose AAP when it tabled the Lokpal Bill, to frivolous and misleading complaints to LG by Congress’ Ajay Maken to delay crucial projects in 2017-2018, it’s crystal clear that they want AAP governance to fail. Even if a policy gets a nod from the LG, the time difference between it’s introduction and passing is 2-3 years.
According to AAP Government’s plan, state PSU Bharat Electronics Limited or BEL was to supply 2000 CCTVs for every 70 Vidhan Sabhas in Delhi. That meant around 1,40,000 CCTVs gross Delhi. While the LG office is claiming that it never received a proposal from the CM regarding CCTVs, CM Kejriwal says the project is being derailed intentionally by the LG. CCTVs help counter terrorism, burglary and other crimes. The BJP-led central government has failed to fill the deficit of 66,000 personnel in Delhi Police, and the LG seems to be no help in the installation of CCTVs.
In 2016, the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) claimed that the “member-secretary to DCW, appointed about a month back with the approval of the lieutenant governor,” had allegedly stopped the release of salaries of its staff. DCW Chair Swati Maliwal sat on a 10-day fast for stricter laws and conviction for rape. Before that, she steered the Rape Roko movement. With whatever LG does my impression of him is quite simple. If Swati Maliwal fights for ‘Rape Roko’ office of LG under Najeeb Jung and now Anil Baijal stand, no, sit for ‘Kaam Roko’ or Stop Work of Delhi Government.
Exactly one year after the AAP Government had passed the Delhi Electricity Compensation policy, LG found the scant motivation to pass the policy. A ship circumnavigating the earth would take lesser time than what the LG takes to approve an AAP Delhi Govt policy.
Here are more policies are projects that are awaiting the LG’s approval:
1. To bring efficiency in ration distribution and eliminate corruption, Delhi government wanted to introduce the Doorstep Delivery of Ration Scheme to benefit 70,00,000 people in Delhi. In March this year, the CM tweeted that the LG had ‘rejected’ the scheme despite several requests from Kejriwal to schedule a meeting.
2. Another instance was also in March when the CM talked about how the LG office was ‘blocking’ its Teerth Yatra Scheme to benefit senior citizens from every 70 Delhi Vidhan Sabhas saying that they only want to restrict it to BPL families. In response, the LG office issued a statement saying that he had “advised that it would be equitable to have some income criteria to ascertain the eligibility of beneficiaries”.
3. Former LG Najeeb Jung had rejected the government’s proposal to get the Akshaya Patra Foundation to provide mid-day meals in government schools since they required land in the city. The proposal was again sent to LG Anil Baijal who has finally agreed to run a pilot project. So much time was lost in this process.
The office of the LG seems like a bully who isn’t letting the Delhi government do its work. It is not important whether some policies are passed or not, it’s that the fight takes our time and money.
LG’s weapon of choice is not the pen to sign and approve the pro-people policies but the scissors which cut through the hard drafted will of people. In a democracy, people are supreme. It looks like the plan is to keep the AAP government busy in these skirmishes so that they are not able to do any real work.
When the youth of Delhi want to see India’s infrastructural marvels go viral, they are stuck grappling with the reality that politicians are wasting time, effort and public money.