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Jan Lokpal is priority, Swaraj may not be tabled today: CM

Our first priority is the Lokpal Bill, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said. (IE Photo: Oinam Anand) Our first priority is the Lokpal Bill, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said. (IE Photo: Oinam Anand)
New Delhi | Updated: February 14, 2014 10:14 am

The Delhi Cabinet on Thursday passed the Swaraj Bill, which aims to decentralise power in the capital with the formation of mohalla sabhas. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Swaraj Bill is unlikely to be introduced in Delhi Assembly on Friday as his party’s first priority will be to introduce the Delhi Lokpal Bill, 2014, and appropriation of finances.

Funds are expected to be used towards providing subsides, according to a source.

“The appropriation of finances and the Lokpal Bill will be tabled on Friday. It is extremely unlikely that we will bring the Swaraj Bill before the Assembly,’’ Kejriwal said.

“It remains to be seen whether the Congress and BJP will let the AAP government introduce the Lokpal Bill on Friday after the drama in the Assembly on Thursday. The Swaraj Bill will only be introduced thereafter,” a source said.

The Cabinet had deferred its decision to clear the Swaraj Bill on Wednesday. “Only minor fine-tuning was required. So, the Cabinet had deferred approval by a day,” the source said.

The Swaraj Bill has been facing a lot of opposition from both the Congress and the BJP. This could be one of the reasons for the AAP going slow in tabling it. The residents’ welfare associations had also expressed their opposition to the Bill on Wednesday.

The Swaraj Bill intends to decentralise power by segregating the city into 2,720 mohalla sabhas, which will have functions ranging from the cleaning of roads to public vaccination and inoculation, issuing of solvency certificates, preserving heritage and even promotion of compassion towards animals. The Bill also intends to do away with MLA development funds.
“The Swaraj Bill was unnecessary as the existing bhagidari scheme intends to achieve the same. We already have a municipal corporation for such work,’’ a source said.

First Published on: February 14, 20141:27 am
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