If Baijal is not allowing Kejriwal to work independently, Kejriwal must start an indefinite street agitation to fight for citizens’ rights and for his own right to rule as an elected leader.
By Rakesh Raman
After the victory of his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the 2020 Delhi Assembly election, the AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal declared himself the chief minister (CM) of Delhi. However, just after a year, the status of Kejriwal has been virtually reduced to the level of a personal assistant to Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor (LG) – who is currently Anil Baijal.
Despite Kejriwal’s incessant rants, now LG Baijal is calling the shots in Delhi while Kejriwal has been relegated to a mere figurehead role. A new law – the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act – makes it clear that the term “government” in Delhi means the LG of Delhi and the elected government of Kejriwal cannot take any decision independently. In other words, the Kejriwal government will have to take LG’s consent before taking any executive action.
Obviously, going by the new law, Baijal is supposed to take all administrative decisions in the city-state. But Kejriwal and his colleagues are not ready to comply with the law, as they constantly oppose Baijal’s decisions.
For example, Kejriwal grumbled when recently Baijal held a meeting with Delhi bureaucrats to review the Covid-19 situation and prepare for the future pandemic. Irked by Baijal’s direct interaction with bureaucrats, Kejriwal in his tweet of August 4 said that LG is going against the Indian constitution and Supreme Court judgement by holding such parallel meetings with government officials.
It is against Constitution n SC CB judgement to hold such parallel meetings behind the back of elected govt.
We r a democracy. People hv elected a Council of Ministers. If u have any Qs, pl ask ur ministers. Avoid holding direct meetings wid officers
Lets respect democracy, Sir https://t.co/SQCkHRNyt4
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) August 4, 2021
Kejriwal wrote in his broken, wrong English that Baijal must consult elected ministers in Kejriwal’s government and respect democracy. Most bureaucrats, politicians, and judges in India lack English language skills, as they write wrong language in their tweets and official communications.
Kejriwal’s preaching to Baijal on democracy came close on the heels of a similar sermon from Kejriwal’s colleague and deputy chief minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia. He said on July 17 that Baijal is interfering in the work of Delhi Government headed by Kejriwal and thus the LG is murdering democracy in the country.
In a four-page letter which was released on Twitter, Sisodia alleged that Baijal has been bypassing the elected government of Kejriwal and calling Delhi bureaucrats to his office to issue directions and forcing them to implement his orders.
However, both Kejriwal and Sisodia fail to realize that they are as notorious as Baijal, because all of them together have made Delhi a veritable hell where it is difficult for people to live and even breathe properly.
Today, the people of Delhi are almost buried under rampant corruption, extreme lawlessness, lethal pollution, administrative conflicts, and bureaucratic lethargy. Violent communal groups are openly holding provocative demonstrations and threatening Muslims in Delhi while Kejriwal abdicates his responsibility by saying Delhi Police is not under his control. But as the political leader of Delhi, Kejriwal never tried to stop increasing religious hostility in the city.
Kejriwal’s extensive hype about Mohalla Clinics (community healthcare centers) and school education in Delhi is a deception to cheat Delhi residents. Kejriwal and other Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) of Delhi are virtually absconding while all this disaster is taking place in the city-state.
It seems that Baijal has taken control in his hands because the Kejriwal government has failed on all fronts. But if Kejriwal is honest, he should not sit idle and neglect the Delhi residents. Rather, if Baijal is not allowing Kejriwal to work independently, Kejriwal – along with his colleagues and AAP workers – must start an indefinite street agitation to fight for citizens’ rights and for his own right to rule as an elected leader.
Kejriwal must understand that he cannot lead a luxurious life in the comforts of his home and office while the citizens are suffering. Kejriwal and his party workers must come on the streets and hold demonstrations and dharnas in all parts of the city. That’s the only solution if Kejriwal wants to challenge the despotic decisions of LG Baijal.
By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.
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