The unity among opposition parties against the Centre’s unconstitutional ‘anti-Delhi ordinance’ has grown stronger, after Telangana CM and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) President Shri K Chandrashekar Rao, extended solidarity to AAP National Convenor and Delhi CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal’s campaign, on Saturday. Prominent political parties including JD(U), RJD, TMC, Shiv Sena (UBT), NCP, and Left parties have already rallied behind Shri Arvind Kejriwal’s cause. The addition of BRS further reinforces the determination of these parties to stand with the people of Delhi and ensure the defeat of the Centre’s bill in the Rajya Sabha. Expressing his support for the movement, Shri K Chandrashekar Rao expressed that the BRS will firmly stand with the people of Delhi and lend its assistance to defeat the Centre’s bill in the Rajya Sabha. Shri Arvind Kejriwal expressed his gratitude for the backing received, affirming the shared commitment to safeguard the democratic rights of the citizens.
Highlighting the unprecedented erosion of power, Shri Arvind Kejriwal lamented the encroachment upon the autonomy of the Delhi government. He criticised the Centre’s move to introduce the ordinance, which took a mere eight days, nullifying the tireless efforts of eight years of legal battles to secure Delhi’s rights. He cautioned against the dangerous precedent set by overturning Supreme Court orders through ordinances. He asserted that there would be no room left for democracy in this country if the Prime Minister continues to subvert the orders of the highest court. He also expressed optimism that a defeat of the Centre’s bill in the Rajya Sabha would instil confidence nationwide to stand against the policies of PM Modi.
Voicing his concern over the ordinance, Shri K Chandrashekar Rao expressed disappointment and demanded a reversal of the decision. Criticising the Centre’s actions, he emphasised the humiliation inflicted upon the people of Delhi and the consequences the ruling party would face.
AAP National Convenor and Delhi CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal had visited Hyderabad to meet his Telangana counterpart and the two leaders had a lengthy discussion on the issues that the nation seems to be facing at the moment. AAP senior leaders including Punjab CM Sardar Bhagwant Mann and MPs Shri Sanjay Singh and Shri Raghav Chadha were also present in the meeting along with senior BRS leaders. Shri K Chandrashekar Rao, popularly known as KCR, is the sixth senior leader of a non-BJP party that the Delhi CM has met since he began his campaign. Earlier, Shri Arvind Kejriwal met Bihar CM Shri Nitish Kumar and Bihar Dy CM Shri Tejashwi Yadav in New Delhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata, former Maharashtra CM and Shiv Sena President Shri Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai and NCP President and former Maharastra CM Shri Sharad Pawar in Mumbai.
Speaking at a joint press conference after their meeting, Telangana CM Shri K Chandrashekar Rao said that the Aam Aadmi Party-led government in Delhi has been elected not once but thrice. “Therefore it is clear that they have the support of the people of Delhi. But the Centre has not allowed them to function effectively. On this issue, the five judge bench of the Supreme Court gave a unanimous decision in the favour of the state government. But the Central Government brought this unconstitutional ordinance to overturn that decision of the Supreme Court. This ordinance of the Modi Government today has insulted the people of the state of Delhi. I can say without an iota of doubt, what Shri Narendra Modi has done is an insult to the public of the state of Delhi. The AAP-led Government has the mandate of the people of Delhi, it has not been nominated by anyone, but won the faith of the people,” he said.
The Telangana CM compared the situation in the country today to that of the Emergency during the Smt Indira Gandhi-led government. “As and when there is something wrong in the country, the people of the country react. What happened after the Emergency is an example of this. The situation before the Emergency was proclaimed by Smt Indira Gandhi was similar to the conditions that prevail in the country at the moment. At the time, the Allahabad High Court had given a particular judgement, but Smt Indira Gandhi decided to not follow it and went on to try and fight with the judiciary. What Shri Narendra Modi is doing at the moment is very similar to that incident from our past. The BJP leaders constantly scream around and talk about the ‘dark days of the Emergency’, but at the moment their own party is recreating that similar scenario in the country. This situation is worse than the Emergency as the Central Government is not allowing a very popular Delhi Government that has been elected by the people to function. It is also not honouring the judgement announced by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court,” he said.
He said that if the BJP-led Centre continues to function in such a manner then the people of the country will teach them a lesson, just the way the people of Karnataka recently taught them a lesson. “The Prime Minister of the country is anyway used to apologising to the people for his anti-people policies. Last year, after fighting it out in support of the three farm laws, it was finally forced to repeal it. Similarly, we demand the Prime Minister to withdraw the ordinance. If he does not do that then we will all support Shri Arvind Kejriwal and stand by him in his movement against this unconstitutional ordinance. It will be better if this ordinance is withdrawn on its own, otherwise I believe that the entire system will stand with Shri Arvind Kejriwal as it is a question of suppressing democracy and federalism in the country. This is a challenge to democracy and this will not be accepted in India,” he said.
AAP National Convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal thanked Shri K Chandrashekar Rao for his hospitality and for welcoming the visiting AAP delegation in Hyderabad. He said that the two CMs had a long and a very productive discussion about matters related to Indian politics. “We are very grateful to Shri K Chandrashekar Rao for taking the time out to meet us and having such good discussions regarding the country with us. We thank him for his support to the people of Delhi and his party has promised us that it will try to defeat this Bill if it is presented in the Rajya Sabha,” he said.
The Delhi CM went on to state that this is not just a fight for the people of Delhi, but it is a fight to save the federal structure of the country. He highlighted how soon after the AAP Government formed its first majority government in Delhi in February 2015, on 23rd May that year, the Centre led by PM Narendra Modi snatched away the powers that the Constitution had given to the state government by merely issuing a notification. “Before the AAP-led Government was formed in Delhi, it was the Congress government led by Ms Sheila Dikshit that served three complete terms before us. The CM of Delhi at the time had complete control over matters that were related to the service department in the state. This meant that Ms Sheila Dikshit could transfer and suspend officers and create and abolish government posts as per the needs and requirements of the Delhi Government. But three months after we formed the government in Delhi, on 23rd May 2015, a notification was introduced by the Centre and it snatched away these powers from us,” he said.
Shri Arvind Kejriwal explained that as a CM of Delhi he does not have the power to appoint important secretaries such as the Education Secretary or the Health Secretary of the Delhi Government. He continued that for the following eight years, the Central Government tried everything in its control to interfere with the work that was being carried out by the state government. “From May 2015 to May 2023, for eight long years, we fought against this injustice and approached the Supreme Court. Finally now, when the court unanimously ruled 5-0 in our favour and the people of Delhi won the battle, the Centre promulgated an Ordinance on 19th May and overturned the court order within eight days,” he said.
The Delhi CM said that the citizens of the country are shocked at the attitude of the Prime Minister of the country who has refused to listen to the Supreme Court. “If the PM says that I am not going to listen to the Supreme Court of India, then where should a citizen go to get justice in this country? How can a government function where the head of the state says that he is not willing to listen to the top courts of the country?” he asked.
Chief Minister of Delhi Shri Arvind Kejriwal agreed with his Telangana counterpart and said that issuance of this ordinance is nothing but a disrespect towards the people of Delhi. “It is as if the PM is trying to punish the citizens of Delhi for voting against the BJP. The PM is clearly telling the people that you may vote for whichever party you want to, but if you vote for a party other than the BJP, then I will not let the government function,” he said.
The Delhi CM went on to highlight that this is not just a fight for the people of Delhi, but it is a fight to save the federal structure of the country. “Anywhere in the country if the people of the state vote for a party that is other than the BJP, then the Central Government goes on to threaten that party in three ways. The first is that in those states where the BJP loses the election, it tries to buy the MLAs of opposition parties and tries to topple the state government. Second, in those states where the first option does not work, the Centre uses the ED-CBI and threatens the MLAs of the ruling party and tries to break the party and get the MLAs to join their party. Third, in those states where the first two plans don’t work out, the Centre uses the office of the Governor to obstruct the work of the elected government and promulgates Ordinances that do not let the state government function effectively,” he said.
Explaining that the situation in front of the nation at the moment is a very dangerous one, Shri Arvind Kejriwal said that his campaign is to not just undo the wrongs that have been done to Delhi, but to protect democracy that is being trampled across the country today. He also pointed out that the state government of Telangana has also been affected by the dictatorial attitude of the Central Government as the Governor has been refusing to sign on Bills that had been passed by the state legislative assembly. “When our freedom fighters fought against the British Raj, they did not fight for such an independence where in the future one political party would form the government and not let any other state government function. If this is how this country is to be run then what is the point of holding elections. The 31 or so odd Governors and the Prime Minister can run the entire country. There is no pointing in electing any state government then,” he said.
The AAP National Convenor concluded by saying that this Ordinance, when it is brought up in the Rajya Sabha in the form of a Bill, it has to be defeated otherwise it would be an anti-democratic step. “Currently, the BJP does not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha, out of 238 MPs in the Upper House, the BJP has only 93 MPs. Therefore this Bill has to be defeated in the Rajya Sabha and I would like to thank Shri K Chandrashekar Rao and the BRS for extending their support to our campaign. I believe that if this Bill is defeated in the Rajya Sabha, then in some ways it will be a semifinal for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and the BJP will not be voted back to power by the people of the country,” he said.
Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Bhagwant Mann said that the situation in the country is such that there is a very direct threat to democracy. He said that on the one hand, India is referred to as the biggest democracy in the world, but in reality day by day, the BJP is murdering the democratic institutions inside the country.
He further highlighted how the Centre has been bossing over states, and particularly those that are run by the opposition parties. “Despite having 91 out of 117 MLAs in Punjab, to have a Budget session of out legislative assembly, I was forced to take the matter to the Supreme Court. It was only after the SC rapped the Governor and said that he had no power to stop a Budget session from taking place, was the session allowed to take place,” he said.
Citing an unfortunate incident in his state, he added, “While addressing the state legislative assembly in Punjab, the Governor wanted to use the term “this government”, whereas constitutionally the Governor always says “my government”. But he refused and we had to approach the Supreme Court to obtain an order for this. The Supreme Court very clearly told the Governor that he cannot change even one word from the document that is written by the state government. The Governor’s residences across the country have become the headquarters of the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the Governors have become their star campaigners,” he concluded.