Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal lashed out at the Centre on Wednesday, saying its notification that gave more powers to the lieutenant governor encouraged corruption and was unconstitutional.
Later in the day, the Delhi assembly passed a resolution against the union home ministry’s May 21 notification, which gave LG Najeeb Jung a free hand in appointing senior bureaucrats as well as matters relating to police and public order, and asked officers to ignore it and work without fear.
The government’s next move would be to challenge the notification in a court, sources said on condition of anonymity.
The city has witnessed a bitter turf war between Jung, who represents the Centre, and Kejriwal over transfers and appointments of officials and even routing of files.
Before the resolution was passed, in his 30-minute speech, Kejriwal came down hard on Jung, accusing him of doing the Centre’s biding.
“This session is called to discuss a serious issue. Since Aam Aadmi Party has formed a government with massive mandate, a big conspiracy is being hatched to fail the government and destablise it,” Kejriwal said.
He asked the L-G and the Centre to stop conspiring and allow an elected government to work. “This is not a constitutional issue as BJP president yesterday said. This is a political issue. The Centre is trying to fail the AAP government but we will continue our fight,” the CM said.
What was happening in Delhi was dangerous and was an experiment by the BJP-led Centre, he CM said. The experiment would be replicated in every non-BJP state. “They want to take the country towards dictatorship. I appeal to all non-BJP chief ministers to come together and unite on this issue,” Kejriwal said.
Jung had lied to media on the appointment of acting chief secretary, he said. The appointment of the city’s top bureaucrat had snowballed into an ugly fight, with Jung overturning transfers ordered by Kejriwal.
“I’m the chief minister of Delhi and I have promised to public. If today, someone is not getting water, L-G will not ensure that he gets it. Due to the notification… officers have stopped listening to us,” Kejriwal said. “Public has given vote to us and their expectations are from us so we must have the right to choose our officers.”
The House expected the officers and employees of the government to follow the orders related to work allotment without any fear, the resolution said. It also asked the House to bring a law to create a separate national capital territory public service.
The notification, the resolution said, was an attempt on part of the Centre to encroach upon the legislative powers of the House conferred by the Constitution “in a completely unconstitutional and illegal manner by bypassing the Parliament and thereby, even grabbing the powers of the Parliament itself”.
The Delhi government had called a special two-day assembly session to discuss the notification and had Tuesday moved a resolution against it.