THE CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS in the wake of dharna by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his senior ministers inside the Delhi Raj Niwas, and the support lent by four non-BJP and non-Congress chief ministers, led to an unprecedented situation and is a significant turn on way to the next general elections.
While Kejriwal claimed that the IAS officers deputed to the Delhi government were on ‘strike’, the Lt Governor of Delhi as well as IAS officers association refuted the claim. Aam Aadmi Party Government is also demanding full statehood for Delhi. The stand-off paralysed the functioning of the state government and has raised questions on the functioning of the federal system.
The crisis had its genesis in the alleged roughing up of the chief secretary by supporters of AAP when he was called late in the evening for a meeting. The officers had lodged a protest and it may be possible that some of them may have adopted go-slow approach. Kejriwal has alleged that the officers don’t take calls, abstain from meetings and keep sitting on files. He pointed out that the problem has its roots in a central government order in 2015 which took away the powers of the Delhi government to transfer and post IAS officers in Delhi.
AAP government had been having frequent run-ins with the Lt Governors and IAS officers posted with the state government. The Centre has also taken away some other powers of the Delhi government, including the functioning of the police. One of the major causes for the peculiar problems with Delhi government is that Delhi is not a full-fledged state. Making a submission in Supreme Court the government had said recently that Delhi enjoyed "special status” among Union Territories under the Constitution but that did not make it a state.
It is obvious that the humiliating defeat suffered by BJP in Delhi, had set up stage for a perpetual stand-off between the Centre and the Delhi government.
Article 239AA of the Constitution, which deals with power and status of Delhi government, is silent on awarding co-extensive executive and legislative powers to the Delhi government. The Centre has taken the stand that Delhi government was empowered to take care of daily utilities of the national capital but the real administrative powers were vested with the Centre and the President.
There was not much of a problem till the central as well as the Delhi government was run by the same political party or coalition like the UPA for a decade before the advent of the Modi government. It is obvious that the humiliating defeat suffered by BJP in Delhi, a year after the Modi wave swept most parts of the country, had set up stage for a perpetual stand-off between the Centre and the Delhi government.
Now the joining of hands by the non-BJP and non-Congress chief ministers to back their counterpart in Delhi has significantly added muscle to the demands of AAP government.
The four chief ministers, Mamata Banerjee from West Bengal, M Kumaraswamy from Karnataka, Chandrababu Naidu from Andhra Pradesh and Pinarayi Vijayan from Kerala, have also warned the Centre against undue interference in the affairs of the states. Each one of them nurses some grouse or the other over meddling in state affairs by the Centre.
These include devolution of funds, allocation of projects, putting conditions on utilisation of funds under various schemes and seeking to impose schemes not suited for all states. The issue is likely to be taken up more vociferously by non-BJP CMs in the run up to the general elections.
With the growing resentment against the NDA government, and its declining performance in Assembly and Lok Sabha by-elections, a political storm is building up before the next general elections.
Their joining hands with Kejriwal, who has successfully changed the agenda for the next elections in Delhi, is also of concern to the Congress. The party had been critical of Kejriwal’s moves and considers itself as its main political rival.
It has now been isolated with the non-BJP parties joining hands and emergence of Mamata Banerjee as head of the third front.
It shall force the Congress under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi to re-think its strategy if it has to be part of a non-BJP alliance. Significantly, the four CMs who came in support of Kejriwal included one from the Left Front which is otherwise daggers drawn with Trinamool Congress in West Bengal.
With the growing resentment against the NDA government, and its declining performance in Assembly and Lok Sabha by-elections, a political storm is building up before the next general elections. It would be vital how the alliance partners get along in spite of the differences.
Similarly the BJP shall have to learn to deal better with its alliance partners. Telugu Desam Party has already pulled out of the NDA and the Shiv Sena has been embarrassing the BJP on various issues. Even the Shiromani Akali Dal is not feeling comfortable with ‘arbitrary’ decisions being taken by the BJP.
This has evidently prompted BJP chief Amit Shah to rebuild bridges with alliance partners. He had been meeting leaders of other alliance partners and is already strategising for the next elections. The non-BJP alliance, however, lacks a charismatic leader who could lead the 20-odd parties including the Congress which still believes that there is no alternative to it for leadership. It shall have to re-strategise its role if it is not able to take all non-BJP parties along.
*(The author, a freelance journalist, is a former Resident Editor of Indian Express, Chandigarh, and reported on the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern India, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in his long, illustrious career. This article was also published by lokmarg.com and is being reproduced here with the due permission of the author. - Ed)
Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.
Most shared Punjab Today articles:
ETHICS OF JOURNALISM & CONFLICT OF INTEREST : The Tribune story
"Congress Sikhan Di Dushman Jamaat Hai?” —Akalis need to dump broken record, shift gears
"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship
SARKAR IN MANALI: From Shahkot to Mohali Court, Sara Alam Bigrra Jaye
If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?
SIKHS & FEMINISTS – We hailed Harjit Sajjan; they didn’t hail Gina Haspel
AFTER BEING RAPED, I WAS WOUNDED; MY HONOUR WAS NOT
The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!
WE MISSED A REVOLUTION, BUT CAN IT STILL BE A GAME CHANGER?
A POLITICIAN SPEAKS – YOU SHOULD HEAR
ENCOUNTER, JULOOS & SELFIES
SOWING ANGER - NO QUICK FIX - Democracy is an Empty Ritual in Punjab
OUT-OF-BOX SOLUTION TO STOP FARMERS' SUICIDES
WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed
'THORRI BAHUTI EHNA NU SHARAM AUNI CHAHEEDI HAI'
ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON SUICIDE-HIT BATS FOR AARHTIYAS
RANGROOT OFFERS A PEEK INTO PUNJAB'S TRAGEDY
WHAT MAKE NEWS IN INDIA, AND WHAT DOES NOT?
HITLER, MODI & GANDHI: ON THE SAME PAGE?
PUNJAB IS STILL VERY FAR FROM INDIA
APOLOGY – AKALIS BIG LOSER, CONG TOO
AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER
SUPER EFFICIENCY ONBOARD CM’S CHOPPER
OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties: The Coordinated Silence of Amarinder Singh & Badals
PM MODI VINDICATES PUNJAB TODAY REPORTAGE
NEW DELHI V/S OTTAWA — WILL QUEBEC DEFEAT INDIA?
A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA - Trudeau came to Punjab, pushed Amarinder closer to BJP, then called him a liar
JASPAL ATWAL CONTROVERSY: Mr. Ujjal, will you throw some light on this too?
TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE
J&K – RAM MADHAV LEAVES SPACE FOR MEHBOOBA’S POLITICS
SHEKHAR GUPTA'S HALF-BAKED TRUTHS
OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES - Karze Ne Layee Ikk Hor Kisan Di Jaan...
PNB Scam: Who is Nirav Choksi and what he is doing In the name of God?
Congress upset due to Priyanka’s cleavage on calendar
RENUKA'S LAUGHTER: Thank you for your guffaws. We needed this non-violent weapon.
MR CLEAN to PAKKE DHEETH: How Punjab’s Congress hurt Brand Rahul Gandhi?
MANJIT SINGH CALCUTTA– THE DISSENTER
PUNJAB FARMERS AND IPL CRICKETERS - Finally, they can stand like equals
Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION. My teacher is not alive, but you please call it off!
SUKHBIR IS RIGHT – On 97th anniversary – Panth Khatre Vich Hai. Where does this threat come from?
THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE
NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty
BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah
MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame
RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience
PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity
Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.