Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday wrote a letter of support to his Tamil Nadu counterpart MK Stalin over the state government’s clash with Governor RN Ravi, stating that “democracy in India is suffering from blows every single day”.
The timing of Kejriwal’s letter is significant as it comes a day before his questioning by the CBI in connection with the Delhi excise policy case. Delhi’s excise policy was scrapped following allegations that AAP received kickbacks to give an advantage to certain liquor companies. Kejriwal’s former deputy Manish Sisodia has already been arrested in the case.
Also read: CBI summons Kejriwal in excise case; AAP says plan afoot for arrest
Refers to AAP’s standoff with LG
Interestingly, Kejriwal also sheds light on the scenario the AAP government is facing in Delhi amid the latest stand-off between the AAP and the L-G over power subsidy. “The situation we are faced in Delhi is further exacerbated by the fact that the Lt Governor has regularly meddled with the democratic mandate of Delhi’s Legislature, blocked the presentation of Delhi’s Budget and going even further to bring day-to-day executive functioning of the GNCTD to a standstill…” Kejriwal wrote.
“The fact that the Governors/Lt Governors of non-BJP ruled governments are indefinitely holding Bills passed by Legislative Assemblies or files sent by the Government of NCT of Delhi is not only a violation of our constitutional scheme, but also a disrespect for the people’s mandate which is supreme in any democracy,” Kejriwal said.
We condemn the actions of Centre & its representatives to usurp & constrain powers of non-BJP State Govts. I support Shri @mkstalin‘s efforts. We will also table a resolution in Delhi Vidhan Sabha urging the Centre to fix time limits for Governors/LG to carry out their functions. pic.twitter.com/jHizPTmL0U
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) April 15, 2023
“Governors/Lt Governors are wilfully undermining democratically elected state government, and obstructing administration as per their whims and fancies. They have become the face of the deepening chasm between the Union and the States run by non-BJP governments. The cherished ideal of cooperative federalism has been rendered a lip service, despite the State Governments honouring the principle to its core,” reads Kejriwal’s letter.
The CBI summons to Kejriwal has become a rallying point for the Opposition after Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from the Lok Sabha. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said Kejriwal is a well-regarded person and everyone knows what is being done with him. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge also spoke to Kejriwal on Friday. At the same time, it has also escalated the war of words between the AAP and the BJP with both the parties accusing each other of being mired in corruption.
Also read: Kejriwal says will sue CBI, ED for perjury and false affidavits
‘Centre preparing to arrest Kejriwal’
Meanwhile, the AAP on Saturday alleged that the Centre was “misusing” probe agencies to “harass” its leaders and preparing to arrest Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has been summoned by the CBI to its headquarters on Sunday (April 16) for questioning in the excise police case.
It also alleged that the Centre was “scared” of the AAP and their aim was to finish it. Addressing a press conference, senior AAP leader and Delhi Cabinet minister Atishi asserted Kejriwal was the only leader speaking out on the issue of corruption, which was why efforts were being made to stifle his voice.
Asked about reports of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge extending his support to Kejriwal after CBI summons, AAP national spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said the party welcomes it, quickly adding that when Rahul Gandhi was disqualified from Lok Sabha, Kejriwal was one of the first leaders who expressed displeasure over the matter.
(With Agency inputs)