In his battle against Delhi lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal found a comrade in his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee with both leaders warning the NDA government against running “parallel governments” through governors.
At a conclave organised by the AAP government on ‘Cooperative Federalism’ and Centre-state relations, the two leaders virtually turned the meeting into a platform to slam their respective states’ constitutional heads and the BJP-led Centre.
The Delhi CM described himself as “dukhi aatma”-a popular phrase in Hindi for a sad person - and narrated how Jung scrapped the AAP government’s pro-farmer notification on hiking compensation for land owners in land acquisition.
Giving a list of incidents of non-cooperation from Jung and the Centre, Kejriwal said, “Our MLAs are directly accountable to the people of Delhi. When they fail to serve the people, voters seek explanations.”
Banerjee, who has had frequent run-ins with governor Kesri Nath Tripathi, also fired salvoes. “I understand that in Delhi, the police force is controlled by the Centre. But in my state, the governor directly writes to the Union home minister seeking paramilitary forces for panchayat polls, keeping the state in the dark.”
Lending support to Kejriwal, Banerjee said, “Why can’t an elected government in Delhi help farmers? Just like the government at the Centre is elected, the state government too comes to power through elections.”
Although she didn’t come out in support of Kejriwal’s demand to get control of the Capital’s police force, Banerjee emphatically stated, “No one can stop the development works in Delhi.”
Kejriwal read out statements from chief ministers Nitish Kumar of Bihar, N Rangaswamy of Puducherry and Pu Lalthanhawla of Mizoram, and both he and Banerjee concluded that the NDA government had destabilised the federal structure of the country.
The Delhi CM echoed Banerjee’s tone and said stronger states can build a stronger government at the Centre.