Politics of confrontation

The BJP, it seems, have not yet been able to stomach its humiliating defeat at the hands of the Aam Admi Party in the Delhi State Assembly elections in 2015 when the AAP won 67 of the 70 seats and BJP just three. The fact that Delhi is not a full-fledged State, that it is the Centre which virtually rules Delhi through the Lieutenant Governor and that the State Cabinet does not have the power to appoint even a chaprasi without the nod of the LG is being driven home to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Cabinet members every day. The State Government came into conflict with the then LG Najeeb Jung almost on a daily basis. After he left and Anil Bhagat succeeded him, the relations between the elected government and the appointed LG have not improved.
The latest spat started with the alleged manhandling of the LG by some AAP legislators. The medical report confirmed some bruises on the person of the LG but the timing of the alleged assault caused some controversy. An AAP legislator was arrested but the matter did not end there. In fact it took a turn for the worse on Friday when a police party raided the official residence of the Chief Minister without even giving him a prior intimation, not to speak of taking his permission. The BJP which has been demanding the resignation of the Chief Minister almost on a daily basis now seems determined to have Kejriwal’s government dismissed by the Centre.
Earlier, nineteen AAP legislators were disqualified by the President for their having been appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries. The AAP insisted that the concerned legislators never held the office of parliamentary secretary as their appointment had been quashed by the Delhi High Court. But the Election Commission confirmed their disqualification. Immediately, the BJP demanded that Kejriwal resign, without explaining why. In a 70 member House the AAP has 67. Even if nineteen of them are disqualified, the AAP still commands a majority. There is no constitutional basis for the demand for resignation of the Chief Minister.
The BJP has to realize that it is functioning in a multi-party democratic system and it is quite natural that there would be governments run by different parties in different States and the Centre. The party ruling at the Centre cannot demand the resignation of a State Government run by a different party at the drop of a hat. The Centre is taking the same confrontationist path with the West Bengal Government also. The spirit of confrontation is incompatible with a multi-party democracy.

Saturday, 3 March, 2018