Congress On Board As AAP Looks To Unite Opposition Against Centre’s Move
The Congress came out in support of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today and said it would oppose the Centre’s executive order on transfers and postings in Delhi, in the monsoon session of parliament, which begins in July. The Ordinance passed late on Friday evening, overrides a recent order of the Supreme Court — which said the elected government is the boss of Delhi — and makes the Lieutenant Governor the final arbiter of the issue.
The Congress will “oppose the Delhi Ordinance issued in parliament,” senior party leader KC Venugopal told reporters this evening.
The Congress and Mr Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party have not been the best of friends. The Central leaders’ remark comes a day after the comments of its senior leader Ajay Maken, advising Mr Kejriwal to follow the “Sheila Dikshit model” of engaging with officers respectfully, rather than “mistreating” them.
Sources explained the discrepancy saying the Central leaders of the party are concerned about the BJP government’s “undermining of the Supreme Court” and its “efforts to subvert democracy”.
The Ordinance, they said, brings the Chief Minister on par with the Chief Secretary, giving him one of three votes in a decision. This is also undermining of an elected government, they said.
The Congress had earlier welcomed the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court, which said in a democratic form of governance, the power of administration must rest on the elected arm. If the officers stop reporting to the ministers or do not abide by their directions, the principle of collective responsibility is affected, said the bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud.
The judgment came after an eight-year tussle between the Centre and the Arvind Kejriwal government, following the Centre’s decision to place the Services department under the control of the Lieutenant Governor in 2015.
But the Centre’s Ordinance last week creates a National Capital Civil Services Authority which is tasked with the postings and transfers of bureaucrats serving in Delhi. The Chief Minister, the Chief Secretary and the Principal Home Secretary will be members who can vote on issues. The final arbiter is the Lt Governor.
Mr Kejriwal has started a huge outreach to Opposition parties, starting with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar yesterday.
He is expected to meet Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray and Nationalist Congress Party Chief Sharad Pawar on May 24 and 25 in Mumbai to discuss the plan to block the Ordinance in the Rajya Sabha.