Democracy and anarchism don’t go hand in hand unless you are an Arvind Kejriwal. With his antics of a dharna inside the lieutenant governor’s office in Delhi, Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party are back to their old theatrical ways.
Kejriwal’s sit-in inside the LG’s office with his three ministers is nothing but a smokescreen to obfuscate a problem that is every bit his own creation. Kejriwal claimed that Delhi’s bureaucracy, led by IAS officers, was on a “strike”, hence the AAP leaders were forced to knock the doors of the LG in order to persuade him to intervene in the situation. However, he never mentioned in his statement what led to this situation.
Although none of the IAS officers is on strike, the whole nation was appalled by the alleged assault on the chief secretary of Delhi, reportedly carried out by the AAP legislators in the very presence of Kejriwal in February this year. The event was not only unfortunate but also unprecedented for the Indian democracy. It amounted to a direct physical attack on the bureaucracy, which in reality is the permanent executive defined as one of the three pillars of democracy.
The AAP leaders know the art of using propaganda to further their anarchist ways. A direct attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and dragging him in all minor controversies of Delhi is one of such tactics designed to sensationalise their cause and to gain attention. Using falsities, quoting selective facts, manufacturing perceptions and using loaded language to enhance their emotional appeal are some of the tactics in which the AAP leaders are quite deft at.
Kejriwal’s fulminations against the LG are atrocious. The question of granting full statehood to Delhi is a complex question. As we all know, Delhi is neither truly a state nor a Union Territory, rather it is a mix of both, with law and order (Delhi Police) and land authorities (DDA) coming fully under the authority of the Union government.
Following the 69th Amendment Act, 1991, of the Constitution, Delhi was given a special status by which it is known as the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi, to be administered by a special administrator appointed under Article 239 and designated as the Lieutenant Governor (Article 239AA). The LG functions with the help of an elected legislative assembly headed by a chief minister.
The reason why Delhi cannot be given full statehood is that it houses the seat of power of the Government of India, including Parliament, the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the cabinet secretariat, various central ministry complexes, the Supreme Court of India, etc. Moreover, the municipal district of Delhi also houses most of the embassies and diplomatic missions, hence many administrative controls must remain with the Union government for ensuring order.
Even the BJP demands full statehood for Delhi but we know the limitations in the argument and respect them. Didn’t Kejriwal know it before becoming the chief minister? Both the Congress and the BJP have worked in the same system with remarkable successes in Delhi’s administration respecting the constitutional provision. But, none of the earlier chief ministers had to take resort to such pernicious antics.
Rattled by the NDA government’s breathtaking performance in ameliorating the conditions of the aam aadmi and by the rising popularity of Modi, and more so by its own failures in fulfilling its promises made to the Delhi electorate, the AAP is back to its old theatrical ways. It is nothing but an act of desperation. No wonder the rootless opposition parties, with their political survival staring in their eyes, have aligned with Kejriwal on the issue to gain relevance and visibility.
What AK is doing in Delhi isn’t called dharna, but it is called pasarna, which means these aren’t protestors; rather they are called squatters.
Lekhi is member of Parliament.