Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is likely to announce the AAP’s plan to launch an extensive campaign on full statehood, ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, in the Assembly on Friday. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has already signalled that the AAP will not only raise the pitch over the issue but also attempt to establish it as the prime factor behind the government’s inability to push through proposals such as the Jan Lokpal Bill.
Kejriwal, who has not yet attended the House proceedings which began on Wednesday, will speak on the resolution on statehood Friday. Subsequently, the resolution, which was moved by Sisodia, will be passed. On Thursday, the BJP, led by Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta, claimed that the Jan Lokpal Bill is with the Law Department since September, 2017, which was denied by Law Minister Kailash Gahlot.
BJP MLAs sought a debate on the issue, which was turned down by Speaker Ram Niwas Goel. Later, Gupta and Rajouri Garden MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa were marshalled out as they repeatedly demanded an apology from Sisodia for stating that the Centre derailed the Jan Lokpal Bill.
In 2016, the Centre had returned 14 Bills passed by the Delhi Assembly, including the Jan Lokpal Bill, to the Delhi government, citing procedural lapses.
The second day of the session also witnessed uproar over the continued refusal of officers to answer questions posed by MLAs on reserved subjects like appointment of teachers and revenue. The Speaker warned officers of “strictest possible action” on the issue. He also extended the session till Monday, and directed the officers to respond. On Monday, the questions that have not been answered so far will be brought up, Goel said.
He also hit out at Sirsa for writing to him, claiming that bureaucrats were being harassed during proceedings of the House panels.
Sisodia also read out a note from Principal Secretary (Education) expressing his inability to answer a question on vacancies in teaching posts in Delhi government schools as it fell under Services, a reserved subject. The secretary cited communications from the L-G’s office in this regard, while stressing that there was no intent to hide information from the Assembly.
Meanwhile, participating in the debate on full statehood, minister Gopal Rai proposed that power and responsibilities be split for the New Delhi Municipal Council and the rest of the city. He said the Centre should be responsible for Lutyens’ Delhi while the Delhi government should be in charge of rest of the city — an observation that is likely to be made part of the resolution which will be passed on Friday.