GNCTD Bill not conducive to democratic functioning: SAD

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Chandigarh, Mar 23 (PTI) The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Tuesday raised strong opposition over the Bill that seeks to give more power to the Lieutenant Governor in Delhi.

In a statement here, SAD senior leader Daljit Singh Cheema said the party requests the Centre to withdraw the bill from the Rajya Sabha 'in the national interest'.

'The passage of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill 2021 in the Lok Sabha which proposes to curtail the powers of an elected government is not conducive to democratic functioning,' he said, and asked the central government to review it.

He said the SAD will continue to oppose the Bill in the Rajya Sabha.

The Rajya Sabha witnessed repeated adjournments on Tuesday as opposition Congress and AAP members protested against the Bill.

The uproar in the Upper House started when Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh asked Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy to move a motion for the consideration of the GNCTD (Amendment ) Bill 2021.

The Bill, passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday, seeks to make it clear that the 'government' in Delhi means the 'Lieutenant Governor'.

The bill also makes it mandatory for the Delhi government to take the opinion of the LG before any executive action.

Cheema said the Bill seeks 'to bring a democratically elected government under a selected appointee of the Union government'.

'This is against the federal system of the Constitution and could pave the way for more far reaching changes which are not good for diverse country like India. We request the central government to withdraw and Bill from the Rajya Sabha in the national interest,' he said.

Speaking about the changes being made through the amended Bill, the SAD leader said now the Lt Governor's opinion would have to obtained before taking any executive decision.

He claimed this would negate the ideals of representative governance and democracy.

Terming all these measures as 'anti-people', Cheema said the SAD had always stood up for maintaining the federal structure of the country as enshrined in the constitution.

'We feel that the Bill seeks to take away the powers of the Delhi government and we are thus opposing this on a matter of principle,' he said.

The SAD will take up the issue forcefully in the Rajya Sabha and also appeal to all like-minded parties to oppose this 'undemocratic Bill', he said.

Cheema claimed the introduction of the Bill had perturbed citizens across the country.

'It comes on the heels of earlier abolition of the Jammu and Kashmir legislative council and later introduction of three agricultural laws which seek to do away with assured government purchase of food grains under the minimum support price (MSP) regime and allowing hoarding of food by corporate houses.

'Even as these Acts have been passed, the draft electricity bill which seeks to centralize all power decisions besides seeking to take away the power of State electricity utilities is in the offing,' he claimed. PTI SUN VSD CK