“Even without legal power, we know how to get work done,” said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Thursday while claiming that the AAP government had fulfilled its promises even with “zero power” — unlike the BJP-led Centre, which had “failed in every sector”.
Kejriwal was speaking at the party’s National Council (NC) meeting in outer Delhi’s Alipur — on the day the Supreme Court began hearing the government’s challenge of the 2016 High Court ruling, which had held that Delhi is a union territory and the L-G its administrative head. While Kejriwal refrained from taking on the Centre or Prime Minister Narendra Modi directly, his speech to the 250-odd members of the party’s highest decision-making body was shared on social media.
With the party taking on the ruling BJP in two states, UP and Gujarat —where it will contest urban body polls and Assembly polls — the CM set the tone for the campaign. An AAP source said, “This meeting was very significant. In May, it had seemed like the AAP was breaking up. Since then, the party has retreated… After the victory in Bawana, it is once again at the forefront. Kejriwal’s speech was reflective of that.”
Comparing the BJP and AAP governments that had been elected “in 2014 and 2015” with heavy majorities, the CM said, “People had hoped the BJP would do something in the country and that we would do something in the state. But after their three years, you take up any sector, the BJP government has failed… At the same time, if you take the AAP government… everyone is happy.”
This, Kejriwal stressed, was done despite the government having “zero power”. “I am the CM, but I can’t hire my own chaprasi. What was our biggest issue? That of corruption… So the first thing they took away from us was the ACB. Then after the HC ruling, services was taken away from us… The one thing they couldn’t snatch away from us was our jasba (passion).”
He added that he was hopeful that the SC judgment would improve things for the party. “So what if we don’t have legal powers? We are the people of the ground, we know how to get work done. When we didn’t have any power, we could still get work done. Now if nothing else, I have the tag of being ‘chief minister’.”
While the NC’s political resolution addressed the “emergency-like situation in India” — especially on the “murder of fearless journalists” and “spread of communalism as a political tool” — the economic resolution was on slowdown in growth and demonetisation.
Leaders meet Punjab unit
AAP senior leaders Manish Sisodia, Gopal Rai and Ashutosh met MLAs and office bearers of the Punjab unit in Delhi on Thursday. A senior leader said, “A three- member committee comprising MP and state president Bhagwant Mann, opposition leader Sukhpal Khaira and co-convener Aman Arora will be set up. It will be authorised to take organisation-related and political decisions on behalf of the state unit.”