A united Opposition vs BJP-led Centre over controversial Delhi bill

AAP, Congress, TMC, BJD, DMK, YSRCP, SP, CPI[M], Shiv Sena, SAD, TDP, and NCP opposed the move

Rajya Sabha
AAP MPs Sanjay Singh, Sushil Gupta (L) and Narain Dass Gupta speak to media on Wednesday | Photo: PTI

The recently passed controversial bill that seeks to enhance the NCT’s lieutenant governor’s powers, faced opposition from 12 parties in Rajya Sabha and nine in Lok Sabha, with Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia describing it as a “sad” and “black day”.

The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which is being seen as a downsizing of the government’s stature, was passed by Rajya Sabha on Wednesday while Lok Sabha had already cleared it on Monday.

The passage of the bill witnessed opposition parties, especially regional parties, uniting to slam the move. Besides AAP which holds power in Delhi, representatives from Congress, TMC, BJD, DMK, YSRCP, SP, CPI[M], Shiv Sena, SAD, TDP, and NCP opposed the move as 16 MPs from 14 parties parties took part in the discussion in the Rajya Sabha.

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The Congress, SP, YSRCP, BJD, and even BJP-ally AIADMK staged a walk even as the bill was passed in the Upper House by 83-45 votes. Only ally RPI[A] stood in favour of the bill in Rajya Sabha. In Lok Sabha, it was the YSRCP which had backed the bill in Lower House though it chose to oppose it in the Upper House. The AAP, BSP, Congress, IUML, NC, NCP, Shiv Sena and SP too had opposed in Lok Sabha.

In both the Houses, a total of 22 of the 28 members who participated in discussions supported the bill.

Rajya Sabha saw noisy scenes on Wednesday as the united opposition started chanting slogans against the government. Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge demanded the bill be sent to a select committee as he claimed the law will take rights away from an election government and vest the power in the LG.

From TMC, Derek O’Brien slammed the BJP-led Centre saying that “the regime wants to destroy every institution brick by brick”. Asserting that TMC MPs flew in to Delhi just to oppose this bill instead of campaigning for West Bengal election, O’Brien warned BJP allies AIADMK and JD[U] that “Don’t walk out, one day they will come after you.”

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Prasanna Acharya of BJD, which had earlier allied with BJP on several issues, agreed that the Bill requires wider consultation as it “undermines the authority and the power of the elected government, of an elected Assembly.” YSRCP’s V Vijaysai Reddy too said his party would rather favour people’s representation that a government nominee. DMK’s P Wilson and SP’s Vishambhar Prasad Nishad too opposed it and sought that it be sent to a select panel. Wilson called the bill’s passage a “flagrant violation” of the Indian Constitution.

AAP’s Sanjay Singh the government is chosen by the voters and one might not like it but has to accept it since it the voice of the democracy. Priyanka Chaturvedi of Shiv Sena said the government’s moves suggests India is moving away from democracy, while pointing out to a recent report that had called India a party-free country and an electoral autocracy.

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