Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, announced boycott of the Niti Aayog meeting over Centre’s recent ordinance and charged that “cooperative federalism” in the country was being turned into a “joke”.
The chief minister of the AAP-ruled Punjab, Bhagawant Mann, has also declared to boycott the Niti Aayog meeting to be held on Saturday.
The ordinance brought recently by the BJP-led central government has taken back elected Delhi government’s executive control over bureaucracy that was earlier given to it by the Supreme Court through its verdict on May 11.
Kejriwal, in his letter to Prime Minister Modi, also alleged that the non-BJP governments in the country were being toppled through the use of money or threat of central probe agencies like ED and CBI orchestrating defection of their MLAs, and questioned whether such action encouraged cooperative federalism in the country.
The Niti Aayog meeting will take place on Saturday and the objective of the Commission was preparing a vision of India and furthering cooperative federalism, Kejriwal pointed in his letter.
“The way democracy has been attacked, non-BJP governments have been toppled and stopped from functioning in the last few years, it’s neither vision of India nor cooperative federalism,” he alleged.
“There is no point in attending the Niti Aayog meeting when the Constitution and democracy are being openly violated and cooperative federalism is being rendered as a joke. People are saying that we should not go to the Niti Aayog meeting tomorrow.
“Therefore, it will not be possible for me to attend the meeting,” Kejriwal said.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener and chief minister said after a struggle of eight years, the people of the national capital won the fight in the Supreme Court and got justice, referring to the Supreme Court’s May 11 verdict giving elected arm of government in Delhi executive power including transfer and postings of officers, that was earlier Lt Governor’s domain.
“In just eight days you passed an ordinance to overturn the SC verdict,” Kejriwal said.
If an officer of the Delhi government does not work, the government elected by the people cannot take action against him, he claimed.
“How will the government work in this way? This is completely paralysing the government. Why do you want to paralyse the Delhi government ? Is this the vision of India, is this cooperative federalism?,” he questioned in the letter to Modi.
There is strong opposition among people in the country against the ordinance brought by the Centre, kejriwal asserted and added that the “people are asking if the Prime Minister does not even follow the Supreme Court, where will they go ?” The Delhi chief minister claimed that a message is being sent out in the country that if people of any state elected a non-BJP party, it “will not be tolerated”.
He alleged that either the non-JP governments are toppled through horse trading of their MLAs or they are weaned away through the “threat” of ED or CBI and if the legislators of any party are not bought or defect, its government is stopped from working through an ordinance or governor.
The Prime Minister of the country is like a father and elder brother of the family. Irrespective of the party ruling a state, the PM should take all along. The country will progress when all the people, all the states and all the governments work together, he said.
“If you support only the BJP governments and stop non-BJP governments from working, it will halt the progress of the country,” Kejriwal said and requested Modi to “let the non-BJP governments work and respect the Supreme Court orders”.
Cooperative federalism will be furthered this way and the country will progress, he added.
Kejriwal has been touring different non-BJP-ruled states, meeting with Opposition leaders to garner their support to defeat a Bill on the ordinance when it reaches the Rajya Sabha.
He has so far met leaders such as Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Pawar, Uddhav Thakre, Nitish Kumar, Tejashvi Yadav. The Delhi chief minister is also scheduled to meet his Telangana counterpart and has also sought a meeting with Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and senior party leader Rahul Gandhi.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)