The arrest of Delhi law minister Jitender Singh Tomar on charges that his degrees were fake could not have come at a worse time for the Delhi government.
Every since it took over, it has been locked in a debilitating battle with the lieutenant governor over what it sees as encroachment into areas which are its preserve.
But to describe the arrest of Tomar as creating an emergency-like situation is going too far.
If the law minister’s degrees are fake, he is culpable under the law and cannot be described as a victim of a larger conspiracy. With this the tensions between the state and Centre, as represented by the LG, have reached almost breaking point.
To make matters worse, the MCD workers are on strike, which has led to garbage piling up. They have not been paid and the chief minister, on the grounds that the Centre has not released funds, has asked them to knock on the Prime Minister’s door.
Meanwhile, Delhi, already in the grip of a heat wave, is suffering from poor sanitation, lack of water and serious power cuts. No one is saying that chief minister (CM) Arvind Kejriwal can deal with all these issues. But he is not the first CM to face a less than helpful Centre.
Sheila Dikshit was CM when the NDA was earlier in power at the Centre and while there were many points of irritation, she got on with the task of governance.
The BJP’s Madanlal Khurana was CM during a Congress regime at the Centre and he acquitted himself well. There are problems about the division of powers between the state and Centre. And these will be resolved only when Delhi gets full statehood.
Meanwhile, the CM must not forget that he has got a massive mandate from the people to deliver on governance and not fight with endlessly with the Centre. But not a day passes when he and his ministers are not in agitation mode. The CM has to adopt a more conciliatory tone and manner in dealing with this.
A more astute politician would have tried to work around the points of contention and at least get moving on areas which are firmly in his jurisdiction.
The arrest of Mr Tomar, according to AAP, is meant to weaken the anti-graft movement though the party would do well to get to the bottom of the fake degree controversy. AAP has blamed the LG for this and so the sorry saga continues as the people of Delhi wait for some sign of governance four months after Mr Kejriwal once again assumed power.