Monday, Nov 24, 2014

CM, Cong head for showdown over passage of Lokpal, Swaraj Bills

CM Arvind Kejriwal at the Delhi Literature Festival on Sunday.EXPRESS CM Arvind Kejriwal at the Delhi Literature Festival on Sunday. EXPRESS
Written by Apurva | New Delhi | Posted: February 10, 2014 1:11 am

With Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal prepared to resign if the AAP’s Jan Lokpal Bill fails to get through the Delhi Assembly, the Congress and Opposition BJP slammed Kejriwal for making threats. While the BJP maintained the AAP preferred gimmicks to actual governing, the Congress aims to write a letter to Kejriwal on constitutional processes in Delhi.

Over the last week, the Congress, which supports the minority AAP government from the outside, has reiterated that tabling the Bill in the Delhi Assembly without approval from the Central government is illegal. “We will write a letter to the CM on Monday about the processes in Delhi. There are differences in the rules that apply to states and to the national capital,” a leader said.

According to the Congress, under the existing framework, any Bill which has financial implication, requires the approval of the Centre through the Lieutenant-Governor. However, AAP leaders insist that the rules are unconstitutional and that sections of the Constitution allow them to table a Bill in the Assembly without prior approval.

Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) president Arvinder Singh Lovely said, “This is another tactic to divert attention. If they were serious about passing a Bill we actually support in principle, then they should do it the right way. He wants to run away from any responsibility,” Lovely said.

Amid the procedural tussle, a final decision may be left to Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung, who negotiated with Kejriwal and brought the Delhi government’s two-day dharna at the Rail Bhawan to an end. “There may be opposing points of view, but the final decision is the L-G’s,” a senior Congress leader said.

Meanwhile, the BJP claimed the AAP was never serious about curbing corruption. “They have formed a government with the corrupt Congress party. This is evidence enough that they are not serious about passing strong Bills. However, there is a process to be followed in Delhi, which must be adhered to,” a senior BJP leader said.

While the Congress and the BJP have supported a strong Jan Lokpal Bill, both parties vehemently opposed the AAP’s Swaraj Bill, which Kejriwal hopes to table and pass during the Assembly session between February 13 and February 16. “We have seen neither Bill and have only read reports in the press. We will be able to take a decision when they give us a draft,” a senior legislator said.

The Congress had earlier warned the AAP government of consequences, if they failed to follow procedure.

“We will never support a Bill that is unconstitutional. If the Speaker allows such a Bill, we will move a vote of no confidence against the Speaker,” a senior Congress leader said.

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