Kejriwal-Jung impasse: The battle is for statehood

May 21, 2015 12:00 am | Updated May 23, 2016 06:28 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s motorcade leaving the Delhi Secretariat on Wednesday.— Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s motorcade leaving the Delhi Secretariat on Wednesday.— Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

At the core of the current impasse between the Lieutenant-Governor and the Delhi Government is an issue which has the potential to transform the political climate of the Capital forever, insiders say.

Amendments sought to the transaction of business rules of 1993 to ensure more say in appointments to the bureaucracy by the Delhi Government on the one hand and the say that the L-G insists his office must continue to have in relation to the same due to Delhi’s special status as a Union Territory is a pitched battle for statehood which has eluded the Capital over several decades.

“There is a view within the Aam Aadmi Party-led (AAP) Government that the tussle, no matter how far it is escalated, is a crucial development in the battle for statehood which will ultimately benefit the people of Delhi and must be taken to its logical, and legal, conclusion” said a source.

“The Chief Minister himself has escalated the matter to the President and the Prime Minister; the Government is willing to take the matter to the Supreme Court with the objective to improve the situation since the relationship between the CM’s and the L-G’s office, as it exists, is unfair to the political mandate that has been bestowed upon successive Governments,” the source added.

At least seven committees have been constituted to decide the validity of the proposition, which would bring important subjects such as law and order in addition to land ownership under the State Government, of giving full statehood to the Capital over the years – but none succeeded.

Both the Congress, which found itself at the helm of the Capital’s Government over three successive terms and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which promised it on priority if it formed the Government in Delhi would suffer Capital losses if the seemingly inexperienced AAP Government was able to secure it.

“The difference is primarily that of intent,” said a Government official. “There have always been disagreements that crop up now and then between the Government and the L-G but never were these escalated to the extent to which they have now,” the official added.

According to a another official, however, statehood would lead to major reductions in the budget allocated to the Delhi Government by the Centre with as much as 90 per cent of the financial resources at its disposal allowed by the former disappearing.

“There are adequate resources at the disposal of the Delhi Government in terms of generating finances; statehood would allow the Government to initiate better welfare schemes in the sectors of land, housing, education and health among many others,” the official added.

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