For the past four days, Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and three of his Cabinet members have been sitting on a dharna inside the office of the Lieutenant Governor (LG) in New Delhi. The deputy CM of Delhi, Manish Sisodia, and health minister Satyendar Jain have joined the hunger strike there.
The supremo of AAP, Kejriwal entered politics from the time of Anna Hazare’s andolan against corruption. The firebrand leader has been popular for his activism – and some people have gone to the extent of calling him an ‘anarchist’. But after leading the government for the last three years, who forced him to come back to this ‘dharna mode’ again?
It is quite unprecedented to see a CM sitting for a dharna, but to understand this, we need to know that there is a difference between the CM of a state and the CM of Delhi. Delhi is a union territory – and according to the Constitution, here the LG is the chief of the administration, unlike in other states where the CM is the administrative head.
The CM of Delhi does not have the power to even a suspend an official. If they notice someone not working, they are supposed to write to the LG – and only the latter will make the final call.
The decisions taken by the Delhi CM and their cabinet is not final. The LG needs to accept the decision, only then will it be applicable. Moreover, Delhi assembly does not have the power to make a bill mandatory. The elected representatives need to wait till the LG passes the bill.
For the last four months, IAS officials of the Delhi government have allegedly been on a strike. These officials have not been attending meetings called by the ministers, even though they were attending office and signing files. Earlier this year, there was an incident where the Chief Secretary of Delhi was allegedly manhandled by some MLAs in front of the CM during a midnight meeting at CM’s residence. The IAS officials, on the other hand, claimed that they are working but also participating in a non-cooperation movement of sorts.
The question arises as to why such tussles rarely happened during the time of the Congress’ rule in Delhi.
It’s important to know that the equation here depends on the central government, as the LG is appointed by them. Now the BJP-led central government is well-known for its utilisation of various constitutional posts, the most recent example being the election saga in Karnataka. In Delhi, LG Anil Baijal happens to be a former IAS official who is close to the BJP government. In my opinion, the Union government is instructing him to conduct the state according to their whims and fancies – in a way so as to disrupt the functioning of the AAP.
After coming to power, AAP has faced many probes from central agencies like the CBI and the ED. The LG has also instigated many probes by using the Anti Corruption Bureau. But none of the probes have been able to prove any misdoing by the intended target. However, the work of the government got affected.
CBI n ACB started randomly picking files from DJB. No specific enquiry. Becoz now I am Min-in-charge, their effort is somehow frame me in something
PM, LG n BJP – If u hv specific info, pl investigate. But don’t victimize Delhi’s people by paralyzing all depts of Del govt.
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) June 9, 2018
An elected government and its CM have faced these situations for too long. The non-cooperation by the officials has led the development work to a standstill. All of these reasons together forced Arvind Kejriwal to return to his ‘dharna mode’.