Centre trying to govern Delhi through 'backdoor', claims Sisodia; BJP hits back

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New Delhi, Feb 4 (PTI) Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Thursday accused the Centre of trying to govern the national capital through the 'backdoor', claiming the Union cabinet has cleared a proposal to give more powers to the Lieutenant Governor.

Reacting to media reports saying the Centre on Wednesday approved amendments to the Government of NCT of Delhi Act, the AAP leader told a press conference that the move is 'against democracy, Constitution and will of the citizens of Delhi'.

'The central government has passed a law in the Cabinet to snatch power of Delhi's elected government and give it to Centre-appointed Lieutenant Governor. The Delhi government will not have power to take its own decisions. The BJP wants to govern Delhi through backdoor as people chose not to elect them in three consecutive elections,' he claimed.

The BJP, however, said this is an important step to ensure proper governance in the national capital.

Sisodia alleged that the BJP government at the Centre has secretly worked to get the GNCTD (Amendment) Bill cleared, subverting the mandate of a democratically-elected government. Terming the bill as the murder of constitutional democracy, he said that the central government wants to impede Delhi's development and progress by enhancing LG's power. 'It is clearly mentioned in our Constitution that barring police, land and public order, everything else falls under the ambit of an elected government in Delhi. In its reading of the Constitution, the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court has also clearly distinguished the powers of the elected government and LG. But, the BJP, which has faced defeat thrice in the past, wants to govern Delhi through a proxy,' he said. 'The LG will use this Act to unnecessarily intervene in the matters of public interest and impede the progress of Delhi. In the last five years, LG has invariably hindered the decisions made by Delhi government. Due to this, many progressive schemes such as mohalla clinic, CCTV, free electricity and water, school infrastructure improvement and others have been delayed, the cost of which is borne by the people of Delhi,' he added.

Sisodia alleged that the BJP doesn't want world class education and health facilities, free electricity and water for the people of Delhi.

'Hence, it is using secretive and unconstitutional ways to impede the progress of Delhi. The BJP hasn't been able to provide basic facilities to the public in party-ruled states. Rather than working on development in other states, it is trying to deprive the people of Delhi by giving unlimited powers to the LG in such an undemocratic manner,' he said. Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said that the Centre's decision to amend the Government Of NCT of Delhi Act is an important step to ensure proper governance in the national capital.

'Repeated instances of conflict between the Arvind Kejriwal government and the Lt. Governor of Delhi during last 6 years have put the prestige of the national capital and people's lives and welfare at stake,' he said.

The latest incident of Delhi government withdrawing DTC buses from police duty is a 'glaring example' showing why national capital Delhi's law and order and other important administrative powers cannot be left with the state government, Kapoor added. PTI GJS VIT ZMN