Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Wednesday that he will not let the Centre affect the development being done by the elected government of the national capital.
“We emerge protesting here at the same Jantar Mantar of Delhi so we don’t worry about hurdles coming before us. I promise you, I would do everything that I can do for you, but I won’t let you down,” Kejriwal said to his party leaders and workers gathered to protest against the Centre’s move to amend the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
“No matter how hard the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Centre tries to derail us, we will not let the Centre take away the power of people of Delhi who have an elected government,” Kejriwal added.
He urged the Centre to take back the bill that seeks to define certain roles and powers of the Lieutenant Governor of the national capital. “I want to appeal to the Centre to take back the GNCTD Bill, don’t cheat the people with this legislation. Because, if it means that an elected government has no power, then it would cheat the people of this country in the name of electing their government,” Kejriwal said.
The Centre has presented NCTD (amendment) 2021 in the Lok Sabha stating that the proposed amendment will ‘promote harmonious relationship between the legislature and the executive and further to define the responsibilities of elected government and the appointed Lieutenant Governor of the national capital.
One major reason behind this agitation is that (as has been attributed by the AAP and the Congress) the amendment notes that the opinion of the LG will have to be sought on every decision taken by the ministers. Kejriwal recalled the incident in 2015 when he along with other cabinet colleagues had sat in protest at LG house for over three days.
“Our government proposed to install CCTV cameras across the national capital I had promised to the people of Delhi during our first election. LG office did not approve the project and put that file on hold for several months. Me and my other cabinet ministers sat in protest and came out only after the file was approved. So we do not worry about any hurdle that comes across while serving the people,” Kejriwal said.
The AAP leadership has also argued that the amendments are intended to nullify the impact of the Supreme Court judgement in 2018, in which the top court clearly laid out that the LG would be bound by the aid and advice of the elected government except in matters pertaining to Police, Land and Law and Order of the city.
The AAP has been opposing the amendments, arguing that if the proposed Bill (NCTD – Act 2021) is passed by the Parliament, it would impact the power of the Delhi Assembly and the Government’s schemes would be at the mercy of the LG.
Earlier in the day, the Congress also held a protest on the same issue and accused the BJP-led Centre of dictatorship and an attempt to murder democracy.
The Congress leaders also accused the Kejriwal-led AAP of acting at the behest of the BJP. “It’s been more than two months, the Centre put a proposal to amend the NCTD Act 2021, and Kejriwal maintained a complete silence,” said Anil Chaudhari, president of Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee.