Will Delhi save India on April 23? (Part-2)

Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Aam Aadmi Party, Arvind Kejriwal
Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Aam Aadmi Party, Arvind Kejriwal

Illegal decisions and action of the Kejriwal government

Every government is required to ensure that people carry out their activities in accordance with law. AK government is perhaps the first government in history which, though legally constituted, is guilty of taking decisions and carrying out activities in utter violation of the Constitution and law of the land.

Read Part-1: Will Delhi save India on April 23? (Part-1)

Delhi is not a full-fledged State. It derives powers from the NCT Act which imposes several restrictions on Delhi government’s power. Delhi High Court has held that the real administrator is LG. Though the Supreme Court has referred the issue to a Constitution bench, it has not stayed High Court order. But AK is not bothered about the Constitution and law.

In an interview published in a section of media on January 12, 2017, former LG Najeeb Jung stated that he had post-facto approved 175 decisions with a note that such decisions should have been originally taken with his approval and declined approval to 80 proposals. The Shunglu Committee appointed by Jung found numerous examples of decisions/actions which were beyond the powers of Delhi government or which could not be taken without LG’s prior permission. CBI is already looking into 7/8 cases and a few more cases are likely to be referred. In addition, 12 cases are with vigilance department. If the charges of nepotism and malfeasance are proved, AK and his ministers may be in serious trouble.

Some glaring examples of illegal decisions are as follows.

S. No. Illegal decisions/actions Remarks and action taken against illegal decisions/actions
1 A secret “spy unit” called“Feedback Unit” running directly on the orders of Chief Minister to keep a watch on the working of officials.

(It is reminiscent of the secret police of dictatorial regimes in Nazi Germany and Communist Russia.)

According to a newspaper report, “The remuneration of the Feedback Unit was paid on the basis of attendance. The staff have recorded 100% attendance and paid ₹ 40.83 lakh since February 2016 by way of secret service expenditure, remuneration, telephone and other expenses. But the Vigilance Department, under which the spy unit was formed, is clueless as to where the staff sat and what work they did since inception.”

CBI is examining its legality and cases of corruption

2 Allotment of ministerial bungalow (206, Rouse Avenue) to AAP for use as party office LG cancelled allotment and notice has been served on AAP to vacate the building.
3 Appointment of AK’s relative, Dr. Nikunj Aggarwal first asSenior Resident at Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya, then OSD to Delhi Health Minister.Post-appointment, he was sent to IIM, Ahmedabad, to improve his CV and to visit China on government expenses. CBI has registered a case on the basis of complaints by LG office and Vigilance Department.
4 Appointment of Health Minister Satyendar Jain’s daughter, Soumya Jain, an architect by qualification, as Advisor to Mission Director Delhi State Health Mission. A clear case of nepotism. She had no qualification for the post. She had been paid ₹ 1.5 lakh when she resigned due to controversies.
5 Appointment of Amanatullah Khan as chairman of the Waqf Board and of retired IPS officer Mehboob Alam as its CEO.

 

Both appointments were struck down by L-G for not having obtained prior approval of the competent authority.

CBI has registered a case on the basis of a complaint by LG office.

6 Appointment of a school dropout as Advisor (tourism) on a monthly salary of ₹ 1.5 lakh. Under investigation.

The Committee has given many more instances: appointment of AK Singhal as advisor to Health Minister without any experience in the field; appointment of Rahul Bhasin as advisor in CM’s office though there was no such post; expenditure of crores of rupees on (unnecessary) foreign visits of ministers and AAP functionaries without LG’s approval; setting up of an autonomous body on publicity to be financed by the government; and so on.

Instead of admitting illegal decisions/actions, AK questions LG’s authority. His stock defence is that the Modi government and its agent LG are creating “obstacles” to hamper the “good work” being done by his government. His deputy, Manish Sisodia, goes a step forward and raises a ‘fundamental question’: ‘if LG has all the powers, what is the use of elections to the assembly?’ If a person of with this mindset becomes Prime Minister, he will claim that he has all the powers to rewrite the Constitution because the Constituent Assembly, comprising members elected on the basis of the limited franchise and nominated by princely states, did not really represent the people of India whereas the Lok Sabha does.

There are many other serious illegal actions/decisions not referred to the Shunglu Committee. For example:

  • On January 15, 2017, Supreme Court sought an answer from AK government on a PIL which has accused the government of illegally diverting ₹ 900 crores from the building construction workers’ welfare fund for other purposes.

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  • Centre appointed a committee headed by a former Chief Election Commissioner reported that Delhi government spent ₹ 97 crores on advertisements promoting AK in violation of the Supreme Court guidelines. CAG reported that the government spent ₹ 29 crores on advertisements outside Delhi. LG has directed Chief Secretary to recover ₹ 97 crores from AAP and to investigate the spending and fix responsibility.

Unfulfilled Promises

AK government spends a fortune on advertisements to claim that he is doing a lot for the Delhi e.g. cheap power and 20 KLs of piped water free every month to each household. He boasts on TV channels that ‘he did what he promised’. But giving subsidy is not an achievement to be proud of. People in several areas are still waiting for piped water and 24-hours electricity.

The chart below presents the status of eight other major promises in the election manifesto.

  S. No. Promise in Election Manifesto Reality check in April 2017 (as per claims in advertisements on 14/02/2017 and media reports)
11 Jan Lokpal: Enforcement of Jan Lokpal Act within 15 days of coming to power to control corruption strictly and effectively. NOT FULFILLED.

Delhi assembly bill passed the bill on Dec 3, 2015; LG forwarded it to Home Ministry which returned the Bill to Delhi government with remarks that:

·          Being a money Bill, it needs LG’s permission before introducing in the Assembly which was not done.

·     Power is extended to the whole of NCT of Delhi which includes Central Govt. employees who are out of Delhi Government’s jurisdiction.

It is currently with Delhi Government.

22 Devolution of Power to People: one of the first things the government would do is to legislate the Swaraj Act to devolve power directly to people and contain provisions for the formation of Mohalla Sabhas (MS) comprising all adults in each Mohalla to meet every month to take care of almost all local issues, from  maintenance of streetlights to communal harmony. NOT FULFILLED.

Swaraj Act could not be made because it would clash with other laws. The notification of 2,972 MSin June, 2016 is yet to be approved by LG. No meeting of any MS during last one year. In budget speech this year, Deputy CM stated that ₹ 350/- cr.provided in 2016-17 budget could not be spent; there is no outlay in the 2017-18 budget.

AK is unable to understand that for a large modern city, it is a utopian concept.

33 To open 500 new schools and appoint 17000 new competent teachers to lower the student-teacher ratio; standard of education in government schools to be equal to the best private schools. NOT FULFILLED.

No new school building constructed. No new teacher appointed. Delhi government told the Delhi High Court (on 12/11/16) that the ratio of the students to teachers being 33.9:1 against the prescribed ratio of 35:1, there were more than adequate teachers in government schools.

44 Public Healthcare: High-quality healthcare facilities to all citizens; new govt hospitals to ensure international norm of 5 beds for every thousand people as against existing 0.58; to open 900 primary health centres; to immediately fill vacancies of 4000 doctors and 15,000 nurses in govt hospitals. ONLY PARTIALLY FULFILLED.

Only 107 Mohalla clinics opened in first two years. No improvement in government hospitals.

 

55 Public Toilets: Construction of 2 lakh new public toilets (one lakh for women) mainly in public spaces and slum areas; Mohalla Sabhas to monitor maintenance. NOT LIKELYTO BE FULFILLED.

In the first two years, only 8000 new community toilets built.

66 Women’s Rights and Safety: (a) effective last-mile connectivity – by providing combination of shared autos, feeder services and e-rickshaws synced with Metro and bus timings – in Delhi’s public transit to reduce number of crimes, (b) Women’s Security Force made up of 10,000 strong home guard,  (c) bus marshals to prevent crime on public transport, (d) Suraksha button on every mobile phone  and (e) connectivity to the police, nearest PCR van, relatives and volunteers. ONLY PARTIALLY FULFILLED.

Delhi government claims to have deployed about 3000 marshals in buses and at bus depots. Could not be verified.

77 Improving Delivery of Justice: New courts to be opened and more judges to be appointed; if required, courts will be run in two shifts; special courts to be set up to decide cases pending in lower courts; etc. NOT FULFILLED. Nothing heard of.
N8 Protecting Common Man from Rising Prices: Black marketers to be arrested, godowns raided and hoarded goods to be released to provide food grains, vegetables and fruits at lower prices. NOT FULFILLED. No claim of any action.

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many more allegations of inefficiency and corruption. Mohalla clinics have been opened at random, several clinics are running from AAP workers’ houses taken on inflated rents, some in close proximity of government dispensaries and quite a few in small and dirty places. Since private doctors are paid per patient examined, there are allegations that they adopt unfair means – calling patients unnecessarily for subsequent visits and entry of fictitious names – to claim more fee.

In the beginning, AK claimed that he and his ministers would lead a simple life, would not take official bungalows, cars and security. Today he has everything.

Highly egoistic, self-opinionated, foulmouthed and rabidly anti-Modi

AK thinks he is the only honest and intelligent person in the country. He cannot tolerate any person who questions his style of functioning, makes all sorts of allegations without any proof and makes all sorts of irresponsible statements even about constitutional authorities. He has been calling PM Modi all sorts of names – ‘psychopath’ and ‘coward,” for example – and blaming him for all everything he (AK) cannot do. When the central government returned 14 bills passed by the Delhi assembly, AK tweeted: Modi’s slogan: ‘Will neither work nor will let others work’. This he says about a PM who is being praised all over the world for his hard and sincere work for the country. On July 27, 2016, AK crossed all limits when he said: “He (Modi) can go to any extent and may get us killed. Talk to your families and see if you are ready for the ultimate sacrifice.  All MLAs will anyway have to go to jail.”On November 1, 2016, he accused PM Modi of having lied to the country about the implementation of ‘one rank one pension’.

PM Modi rightly ignores AK’s hysterics. It is below PM’s dignity to enter into oral or legal battle with a petty politician but everyone is not ready to tolerate AK’s nonsense. When he publicly accused Arun Jaitley of corruption, Jaitley filed a criminal defamation case. Now, AK is facing the music.

 Also Read: Will Delhi save India on April 23?

AK saga is endless. One can go on giving examples of AK’s mistakes and arrogance. The fate gave him an opportunity to work forDelhi and prove himself for bigger roles. Unfortunately, he has frittered away that once in a lifetime opportunity. His biggest enemy is he himself.

I hope, people of Delhi will teach AK a lesson he deserves but BJP should not be overenthusiastic about its victory by default in Rajouri Garden by-poll. As against 44,880 votes in 2015, BJP candidate got only 40,602 votes in 2017. The victory was due to voters’ apathy towards AAP: as against 54,916 voters in 2015, only 10,243 AAP voters came out in 2017.

(The author is a former bureaucrat and views expressed are personal)

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