AAP opposition to Delhi services bill aimed at hiding corruption: Amit Shah

With Opposition questioning the power of Parliament to make laws for the Delhi government, Mr. Shah asserted that the Constitution, under Article 239AA, granted such powers

August 03, 2023 05:59 pm | Updated 05:59 pm IST - New Delhi

Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks in Lok Sabha during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on August 3, 2023.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks in Lok Sabha during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on August 3, 2023. | Photo Credit: ANI

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on August 3 asserted the power of Parliament to make laws for the National Capital, saying the AAP was opposing the Delhi services bill with the sole intention of hiding its corruption and asked other Opposition parties to think of people's welfare and not of the new alliance.

Initiating the debate in the Lok Sabha on the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023, Mr. Shah said the BJP and Congress had ruled the National Capital without any confrontation, but problems arose only in 2015 when a government came that had no intention to serve but only to fight with the Centre.

Also read | Parliament Monsoon Session live updates

The AAP-led Delhi government has been at loggerheads with the Centre over the control of Group-A officers in the National Capital Territory administration.

In May, the Centre promulgated the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023 that overturned the Supreme Court judgment handing over control of "services" in the NCT administration to the Delhi government.

The lone AAP member in Lok Sabha, Sushil Singh Rinku, was heard saying that the intention of the party was not to pick up fights with the Centre but to save the Constitution from being "subverted".

With Opposition questioning the power of Parliament to make laws for the Delhi government, Mr. Shah asserted that the Constitution, under Article 239AA, granted such powers.

Mr. Shah also invoked first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Babasaheb Ambedkar and Congress leaders Sardar Patel, C. Rajagopalchari and Rajendra Prasad opposing the proposal for full Statehood to Delhi.

"The problem with the Bill is not about control of transfer and postings of officers, but to hide the truth of the bungalow worth crores by gaining control over vigilance and to hide the truth about the corruption that has taken place," he said.

Mr. Shah was referring to the renovation of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's bungalow which had triggered a war of words between the AAP and the BJP.

Also read | Congress won’t support in Parliament Centre’s ordinance on control of services in Delhi: Gen Sec Venugopal

The Home Minister also cautioned the Opposition, which is building a coalition against the BJP-led NDA for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, saying that bills and laws were for the benefit of the people and should be supported or opposed solely for that purpose.

"It is my request to all the parties not to indulge in politics of supporting or opposing legislation just to win elections or gain the backing of some party. There are many ways to build new alliances. Bills and laws are for the benefit of the people. These should be supported or opposed keeping in mind the welfare of the people of Delhi," he said.

The lawmaker from Gujarat's Gandhinagar constituency also asserted that the efforts of the Opposition to build an alliance against the BJP was an exercise in futility as Prime Minister Narendra Modi was set to return to power with a massive majority.

"Don't sacrifice the interests of the people for the sake of this alliance. The people are watching everything. You think that by entering into an alliance you will gain the trust of the people. You got the mandate, but you are sitting there (opposition) because of the manner in which the UPA ran the government for 10 years, indulged in corruption worth 12 lakh crore," Mr. Shah said.

"The entire nation is watching you support the Delhi government's corruption for the sake of the alliance. The entire nation will settle the scores in the elections," he said.

"I wish to say this to the Congress that these people (AAP) will not be joining the alliance after the passage of this Bill," the BJP leader said.

Opposing the GNCTD Bill, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury cited that Supreme Court judgment which empowered the Delhi Assembly to make decisions regarding civil services in Delhi.

He claimed that if the Bill was allowed to pass, then the Centre would overrule elected Assemblies in other States and make decisions for them.

Mr. Chowdhury wondered what's the point of electing MPs and MLAs if it is the bureaucrats who end up running the government.

"Please don't break the system of checks and balances by bringing such a bill," he said.

Union Minister Piyush Goyal took a dig at Mr. Chowdhury, saying the party was Opposing the bill even as Congress leaders attacked AAP.

"Don't try to create fissures. Stick to the point," Mr. Chowdhury shot back.

BJP member Ramesh Bidhuri alleged that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal promised a lot but delivered nothing.

He said the chief minister gathered people from all over to fight corruption but at the end of the day he disappointed those who supported him.

"INDIA is strong. You take care of your family. You never know, in 2024, you will be here, and we will be there (treasury benches)," DMK member Dayanidhi Maran said.

Mr. Maran said maintaining law and order in the National Capital was the duty of the Union Home Ministry.

"Why give this plea that security is one of the reasons for bringing the ordinance," he said.

As Mr. Maran tried to raise the issue of Tamil Nadu Governor R. N. Ravi, BJP member Rajendra Agarwal, who was in the chair, called the next member to speak.

Mr. Maran and DMK leader T. R. Baalu protested the action of the chair and walked out of the House.

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