Explained | The Delhi CM-LG stalemate continues 

What is the recent flashpoint between Delhi Chief Minster Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena? What happened during the mayoral elections? Has communication between the two parties completely broken down? What are the other events which have promoted discord between the CM and the LG?

Published - January 16, 2023 10:38 pm IST

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia protest against Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena’s cancellation of the proposal to send the government school teachers to Finland for training, in New Delhi

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia protest against Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena’s cancellation of the proposal to send the government school teachers to Finland for training, in New Delhi | Photo Credit: ANI

The story so far: The recent flashpoint between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor (LG) Vinai Kumar Saxena was triggered ahead of the January 6 election of the Mayor and deputy Mayor of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). AAP has accused the LG of issuing orders on “practically everything” and bypassing the elected government.

What happened?

The LG appointed Satya Sharma, a BJP councillor, to preside over the mayoral polls issuing a gazette notification for the same. The AAP alleged that the LG had bypassed the tradition of nominating or appointing the senior-most councillor as the presiding officer and has also bypassed the elected government’s recommendation. The LG also nominated 10 aldermen to the MCD who were persons who needed to have “special knowledge or experience in municipal administration”. The AAP said that the aldermen had political links to the BJP and accused the LG of giving them voting rights in the mayoral polls, which is prohibited according to the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957. The first meeting of the newly-elected House of the MCD ended with councillors of the AAP and BJP coming to blows.

What does the AAP allege?

Mr. Kejriwal has accused Mr. Saxena of issuing orders on “practically every” subject directly to the Chief Secretary who gets them implemented, completely bypassing the elected government. In a letter to the LG, Mr. Kejriwal said that barring the three reserved subjects of police, public order and land, executive control over all other subjects (transferred subjects) lies with the elected government but the LG has been issuing orders on these subjects and having them implemented by the bureaucracy. The AAP’s stand is that the Supreme Court has said that the LG is bound by the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers on all transferred subjects. He can only invoke Article 239AA (4) of the Constitution if he differs with the decision of the Council of Ministers.

Where does the LG stand?

Replying to letters written to him, accusing him of bypassing the elected government, by Mr. Kejriwal, Mr. Saxena said that there are Constitutional provisions, Statutes and Acts that outline the multi-layered scheme of administration in the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi that emanated out of serious deliberations in the Constituent Assembly, State Reorganisation Commission, and Parliament of India, interpreted by various Supreme Court judgments.

His office released a statement with a point by point rationale for taking decisions that were pointed out by Mr. Kejriwal and said that these decisions were taken by him as he was the “administrator of NCT of Delhi”.

Do the LG and CM not meet regularly?

The LG and the Chief Minister are supposed to have weekly meetings every Friday. However, since October, these meetings have not taken place with the LG accusing the Chief Minister of not being available as he was busy with election campaigns in other States. Mr. Kejriwal met the LG after a long gap on January 13 but the meeting ended in a stalemate.

What are the other flashpoints?

Alice Vaz, Secretary, Information and Publicity, Delhi Government, has issued a notice to the Convenor of AAP to recover ₹164 crore spent on political advertisements of the Delhi Government that were published in the garb of government advertisements. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that the Central government was misusing its control over officers through the “services department” to target AAP and its leaders in false cases. He questioned why bureaucrats of other States which advertise in newspapers outside their State do not send recovery notices to their Chief Ministers. The LG had directed the chief secretary to recover this money in December last year.

The LG also sent back a file from the government seeking permission to send teachers from Delhi government schools on an international teacher training programme to Finland, asking for a cost-benefit analysis. The Delhi Government saw this as a direct attack on its education model questioning why the LG was not approving a proposal that has been made by the elected government which had won a clear majority to fulfill the aspirations of the people of Delhi. The LG’s office said it had not stopped the proposal but had asked for a cost-benefit analysis.

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