Governance suffers, Delhi looks for ways to quench thirst of its residents

What’s the point of running a, as MA Jinnah had put it, “a mutilated and moth-eaten government.”
Delhi residents queue up to fill water
Delhi residents queue up to fill water (File photo | Express)

On Friday last when Delhi Minister Atishi began a fast to protest against the ongoing water crisis in the city, a message from incarcerated Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was read out saying, “he was immensely pained by seeing on TV the plight of the people facing water shortage amid the ongoing intense heat wave.” Nothing explains the irony of the situation better.

A Chief Minister responsible for running the government after dismembering it by refusing to resign despite going to jail, is feeling pained that nothing could be done. Here is a suggestion, his party should stop politicking, resign from Delhi government and bring the Lieutenant Governor on the front seat to drive governance of Delhi.

What’s the point of running a, as MA Jinnah had put it, “a mutilated and moth-eaten government.” What’s holding back the remaining Ministers of Delhi government to quit, take to the streets and force the Raj Niwas to deliver? Instead they are wasting time nit-picking and celebrating and mourning the grant of bail to Chief Minister Kejriwal and the subsequent stay on it.

What’s prevailing in Delhi in the name of governance is Anarchy. In the field of public administration, Anarchy, in its most fundamental sense, refers to the absence of a governing authority or a structured government. The term is derived from the Greek word ‘anarchos,’ meaning “without a ruler” or “without authority.” It describes a condition in which there is no recognized governing authority or institutionalized system of control.

Now isn’t the prevailing anarchy in Delhi sufficient ground for dismissing Arvind Kejriwal government and impose the central rule? Article 356 of the Indian Constitution allows the President of India to impose President’s Rule in a state if the state government is unable to function according to the provisions of the Constitution.

There are two important grounds for the imposition of Central rule, namely breakdown of the constitutional machinery and crisis in governance. Failure of Constitutional Machinery means that a situation has arisen in which the government of the state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. Governance crisis includes a breakdown of law and order, financial instability, or other forms of governance crisis that prevent the state government from functioning effectively.

To a common reader, these situations are prevailing in the city but then what’s stopping the imposition of Central rule. The answer lies in another provision of the act. The Governor of the state, the L-G in case of Delhi, plays a critical role by assessing the situation and reporting it to the President. On being satisfied with the report, the President can bring a state or Union Territory under the central rule.

Now what’s stopping the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Vinai Kumar Saxena from recommending the imposition of the Central rule? Every day his communication department is flooding the media houses with information of the Lieutenant Governor charging the state government of something or the other. If he is not doing that he is countering the charges levelled largely by Delhi Government ministers Atishi and Saurabh Bhardwaj.

These ministers spend most of their time either in defending Kejriwal governmentor in levelling charges against the Raj Niwas to cover-up their lack of delivery. This, however, is not to suggest that Raj Niwas was running administration in the matters allotted to it any better. If one needed a case in support of this point is the recent shootout in an up-market restaurant in West Delhi.

Capabilities of the Aam Aadmi Party government is well-known. However, the Lieutenant Governor and Delhi’s bureaucracy, which is closely controlled by the Raj Niwas through the Chief Secretary, too have failed the city residents. They have neither recommended imposition of the Central rule or have tried to make government functioning efficient with the head of the government in jail.

It’s now time for the Centre to stop the Tom and Jerry game going on in Delhi. The Lieutenant Governor must realise that their first obligation was to provide stable governance in the national Capital and not playing politics with AAP. Hopefully the Raj Niwas puts the dismissal of the Delhi government on its priority list and save the people from the never-ending political histrionics.

Sidharth Mishra

Author and president, Centre for Reforms, Development & Justice

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