The Supreme Court on Wednesday solved the three and half-year-long tussle for power in national capital between the elected Aam Aadmi Party government and the Centre appointed Lieutenant Governor. Giving major relief to Arvind Kejriwal, the apex court ruled that his government would be the supreme authority in the state and the Governor was bound by the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.
With the apex court’s verdict, everyone hopes that long tussle for power between the AAP-led Delhi government and the office of the lieutenant governor will end. However, if we look back, it’s been a rocky ride for the AAP, which came to power in 2015 with a thumping majority. Though Kejriwal became the chief minister of Delhi after winning 67 of the 70 Assembly seats, he never enjoyed the powers like a CM with everyday tussles with the LG over several issues.
Be it transfer of bureaucrats or the control over the Anti-Corruption Branch, the Kejriwal government had to fight for its relevance in the state as most of his decisions were either overturned by the LG or filed were kept on hold for months.
From bureaucrats strike over chief secretary assault to Kejriwal’s dharna at LG Baijal’s office over the doorstep ration delivery scheme and action against IAS officers halting the work, there were many flashpoints between the AAP government and LG office in the last three-and-half years. Read More | Delhi Power Tussle: Supreme Court shows the way
Three months after the Kejriwal took over the office in Delhi, the Centre handed over the control on the Anti-Corruption Branch to then Lt Governor Najeeb Jung due to which it could not take strict action against corrupt officers.
The government alleged that this was not so during the previous Sheila Dikshit-led administration. The Centre, it said, had issued a notification giving control of the anti-graft body to the lieutenant governor when Delhi was under President’s rule in 2014.
Transfer and posting of bureaucrats
In May 2015, the then LG appointed senior bureaucrat Shakuntala Gamlin as acting chief secretary of Delhi despite Kejriwal’s strong objection. Aggrieved over the move, the government locked the office of the then service Secretary Anindo Majumdar, who had issued Gamlin’s appointment order following the lieutenant governor’s directives.
It was the first major confrontation between the government and the LG’s office on the issue. Since then, Kejriwal has frequently complained that he could not appoint even a “peon” or transfer an officer of his government with the Centre “snatching” services from the Delhi government and handing it to the LG. He also alleged that bureaucrats didn’t obey his government’s orders as their cadre controlling authority was the Ministry of Home Affairs.
In December 2015, Delhi’s bureaucrats went on mass leave for a day against the AAP dispensation’s decision to suspend two special home secretaries. Also Read | LG has no independent decision-making power, rules Supreme Court
In May this year, Kejriwal, his ministers and AAP legislators sat on ‘dharna’ near the office of LG Anil Baijal for over three hours, accusing him of stalling the AAP government’s ambitious project to install 1.4 lakh CCTV cameras across the city at the “behest of the BJP”.
The L-G’s office maintained that government’s files on decisions taken by it were cleared in accordance with rules.
Assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash
In February this year, Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash was allegedly called to Kejriwal’s residence late at night and assaulted by a group of AAP legislators. Following this, bureaucrats decided to boycott meetings with AAP ministers.
The stalemate continued till the last week of June and was broken after a nine-day sit-in by Kejriwal. His deputy Manish Sisodia and Health Minister Satyender Jain also went on a hunger strike to press their point.
Kejriwal’s dharna over IAS “strike” and doorstep ration delivery
In June this year, Chief Minister Kejriwal along with his cabinet colleagues sat on an indefinite dharna at the L-G residence in Delhi.
The CM was demanding action against the IAS officers who were allegedly holding a “strike” for the last three months and to get a clearance for the doorstep ration delivery scheme. The strike ended after 9 days when IAS officers came out and said that they were ready to work if assured safety.
(With inputs from PTI)