The Modi regime steps up to increase its control in Delhi: Why AAP is opposing a Bill to replace Delhi's ordinance?

With the objective of changing the status quo and reversing the Supreme Court's verdict that granted more power in the administrative services to the elected government in Delhi, the Modi regime has proposed an ordinance to suppress that power and to limit the Delhi government's statehood at a high time when the Delhi ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has risen as the BJP's political foe in the capital. 

The Modi regime, irked by the apex court verdict, has stepped up to increase its control and command in Delhi's administrative services by passing a bill in the ongoing Parliament session. The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023, has been included in the list of business for the Lok Sabha for Thursday - August 3. The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai on Tuesday. 

The bill was mentioned in the list of business of Lok Sabha for Wednesday only to defer its discussion owing to the ruckus from the Opposition parties in the lower house. Indicating that the bill will be taken in the list of business on Thursday, the BJP has issued a three-line whip to its Lok Sabha members to present in the House and after the passage, it will be tabled in Rajya Sabha this week. 

Earlier on Tuesday, when the bill was introduced, the BJP had garnerned a support for the bill from the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and YSR Congress parties. With the enough numbers in the Lok Sabha and with the support of allies, the BJP's bill will have a hassle-free passage in the lower house. However, the bill would struggle in the Rajya Sabha where the Modi regime suffers with inadequate numbers. 

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP, which has been staunchly opposing the bill, has expressed confidence that the bill won't survive in the Rajya Sabha. AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh on Wednesday has said that all members of the opposition bloc 'INDIA alliance' will oppose the proposed bill in the upper house. Singh further said that the bill was anti-constitutional and against the federal structure and democracy. 

On the front of why the bill has come under attack, the Modi regime's legislation will reverse the effect of a Supreme Court verdict that had granted the elected Delhi government power over the administrative services in the national capital. The verdict was delivered in the midst of a conflict between the centre-appointed Delhi's Lieutenant Governor and Chief Minister over the statehood.

When the verdict was welcomed by AAP and several opposition parties that it smashed down the BJP regime's attempts of intruding into the governance of a state government through the Governor, the Modi administration has now introduced a bill to scrap the autonomic power of Delhi government's administrative services. The bill proposes that the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi will have the final say on the transfer and posting of officials of the Delhi government. 

While the Delhi Police falls under the jurisdiction of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, it is naturally getting controlled by the BJP regime and now, the move to limit the Delhi government's power in the administrative services will further strengthen the BJP regime's control in the national capital. The BJP government, that already introduced and passed crucial bills in the Parliament without discussion, will most likely table the bill to replace Delhi ordinance on Thursday. 

The political hot potato 

When the Delhi ordinance bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, several opposition leaders came down heavily on the BJP government. Congress party's Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, "The bill vindicates the outrageous infringement of this government upon the territory of the state. It is designed to dig up a graveyard for cooperate federalism." Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi, who moved a no-confidence motion against the BJP regime over Modi's silence in the Manipur violence, said that the bill was completely illegal. 

While opposing its introduction, Gogoi argued that it wasn't substantive policy and that no substantive business in the lower house can take place once a no-confidence motion had been moved. Responding to the bill and its introduction, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said that the opposition was politically motivated and that the Constitution and the Supreme Court granted Parliament the right to legislate on the powers of the Delhi state. 

Amit Shah said, "The Constitution has given the House the power to pass any law regarding the state of Delhi. Supreme Court judgement has clarified that Parliament can bring any law regarding the state of Delhi. All objections are political." Supporting the bill, Odisha-ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Pinaki Misra said that the introduction of the bill cannot be opposed on the grounds of the legislative competence of the House and further argued that the Supreme Court had empowered the central government to bring such a law. "I can understand that you vote against it, but on a point of law, you cannot challenge this", Misra added.