In a major setback for Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Lok Sabha on Monday passed a Bill that gives more power to the Lieutenant Governor. The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021, enhances powers of the LG, who represents the Centre, in comparison to the national capital’s elected government.
CM Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP has been objecting to the Bill calling it a ‘betrayal of people’s mandate’.
“If Delhi government means the L-G, then what will happen to the people of Delhi? What will happen to the Chief Minister? Why were there elections?” Kejriwal had said addressing party workers during a protest at Jantar Mantar last week.
Congress has also objected to the Bill dubbing it as ‘unconstitutional’ and one that will take away rights of the city government.
Speaking in Lok Sabha, Congress MP Manish Tewari said the measure is contrary to what the then Union Home Minister L K Advani had perceived some 18 years ago.
He said while the idea was to give the Delhi government rights to make laws on all issues except public order, police and land, the bill takes that away. “How can you divorce a decision from its implementation,” the Congress leader said.
However, the BJP rejected the Opposition’s charge, saying the Bill seeks to rectify the alleged mismanagement of Delhi.
BJP’s Meenakashi Lekhi, who represents the New Delhi seat in Lok Sabha, said the Congress could have given full statehood to Delhi if it wanted.
The BJP MP also used the opportunity to hit out at the city government, saying when people were dying in Delhi during the coronavirus pandemic, the chief minister did not step out of his house.
Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said the bill has become necessary as there have been ambiguity in certain issues related to the functioning of the Delhi government.
“Please do not say that it is a political bill. It is being brought to end ambiguity in certain issues as Delhi is a Union Territory. It will end certain confusion or technicality and enhance the efficiency of the administration,” Reddy said.