Sunday, 7 August 2016

Arvind Kejriwal's resignation drama in February 2014

(From my Memoirs)

                (This article was originally written soon after Kejriwal resigned in 2014.)

                              He resigned to appear as a martyr in the eyes people.

                                                 (Cartoon downloaded from internet)

There are solid reasons to believe that Arvind Kejriwal’s resignation drama in February 2014 “was all scripted”. Consider the constitutional and legal provisions and sequence of events.

A Lokpal Bill being a money bill –establishment of the institution would require expenditure from the consolidated fund – it cannot be introduced without recommendation of the Head of the State. The Central government requires President’s recommendation (Article 117 of the Constitution). A State government requires Governor’s recommendation (Article 207). Section 22 (3) of the National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 (framed under the 69th Amendment Act) requires Delhi government to obtain LG’s recommendation. The Central government had obtained the Presidential recommendation before introducing the Central Lokpal Bill.

For Delhi government, there is one more condition. Section 55 (1) of Transaction of Business of Government of NCT Rules 1993 requires LG to make a prior reference to the Central government before certain Bills are introduced in the assembly.

Given the legal constraints, it was clear from day one that the AAP would not be able to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill without the support of LG and Central Government which was unlikely. If Kejriwal was aware of these constraints before promising Jan Lokpal, he is guilty of giving a false promise for votes. If he was not, he is no different from the other politicians who make tall promises without bothering about delivery.

Perhaps, Kejriwal had never expected to be Chief Minister. But once in the saddle, he found himself in an unenviable position. It was impossible to get the promised Jan Lokpal Bill passed. He needed an excuse to get out as a martyr before it was too late. So, instead of wasting time on getting involved in legal disputes with the LG and Central government, he went straight to the assembly to introduce the Bill, knowing full well that non-AAP parties would never support his illegal action. The whole purpose was to have an opportunity to blame everyone – LG, Congress and BJP –for ganging up against the lone crusader against corruption. By filing FIRs against Mukesh Ambani and others he had already prepared ground for attacking the opponents. He resigned, patted his own back that he had no lust for power, that he would continue to fight to make India corruption-free. His supporters cheered him. Media ran after him for interviews on ‘what next’.

Can we still call him a genuine crusader against corruption?

(This article was originally written soon after Kejriwal resigned in 2014.)

Devendra Narain

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