Delhi's Political Landscape Abuzz With Activities in 2014

Published: 21st December 2014 12:50 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st December 2014 12:50 PM   |  A+A-


NEW DEHI: From AAP's government's resignation after 49 turbulent days at the helm to President's Rule to wrangling by parties for fresh polls - Delhi's political landscape was abuzz with activities but in the process development took a backseat.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, after offering number of soaps to his core constituency, stepped down following his failure to get Jan Lokpal Bill approved but his resignation speech on a rainy evening of February 14 was very clear -- he was leaving Delhi for a bigger battle two months later.

The AAP government slashed power and water bills but took a number of controversial decisions like ordering filing of FIR against then Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily and RIL chief Mukesh Ambani for alleged collusion in fixing prices of natural gas from KG basin.

The AAP government was in the eye of a storm on a number of issues like a midnight raid by minister Somnath Bharti to bust an alleged sex and drug racket and then Kejriwal's 'dharna' seeking punishment against policemen who refused to take action in the case.

Kejriwal along with his six cabinet colleagues and scores of supporters spent a night under the open sky outside Rail Bhavan, the venue of their protest, braving the cold winter on January 20.

The AAP's gamble of quitting power and capitalising on its populist measures in the Lok Sabha polls did not pay dividends with the party failing to win a single seat in the Lok Sabha polls where BJP made a clean sweep. The AAP candidates were in second position in all seven constituencies while Congress suffered a crushing defeat.

46-year-old Kejriwal, who had lost against Narendra Modi in Varanasi, admitted that it was a big mistake on his part to quit government in Delhi and promised never to repeat it.

After installation of the NDA government at the Centre, a section of Delhi BJP leaders showed enthusiasm in taking a shot at power in the Delhi as Lt Governor Najeeb Jung had kept the assembly in suspended animation.

The section who were in favour of the party forming the government got backing from a number of central leaders. In September, Jung sent a report to the President seeking permission to invite BJP to form government in Delhi.

As BJP's indication of willingness to form a government in Delhi drew sharp criticism and AAP came out with a sting operation alleging efforts to lure its MLAs to switch sides, the saffron party decided against taking a shot at power without having a clear majority.

President Pranab Mukherjee on November 4 dissolved the assembly after Lt Governor sent a recommendation for it as all major players BJP, AAP and Congress expressed "inability" to form government and preferred holding of polls.

The political parties -- mainly BJP and AAP -- hit the ground launching their campaign immediately after assembly was dissolved while Congress also made efforts to revive the party following drubbing in both assembly and Lok Sabha polls.

Arvinder Singh Lovely, who was appointed Delhi Congress president following party's severe defeat in Assembly polls, tried to regain the grand old party's lost ground by initiating a massive contact programme at the grass-root level.

Though three-time Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit returned to the city after quitting as Kerala governor in August, Congress leadership chose to continue with Lovely to steer the party. Dikshit publicly said she was not interested to return to Delhi politics but her loyalists have been pressing for her return to leadership role.

The BJP in July appointed young leader Satish Upadhyay as chief of its city Delhi unit succeeding Harsh Vardhan, who had resigned from the post after being elected to the Lok Sabha from Chandni Chowk constituency. The city witnessed very little development activities during the year though the Lt Governor made efforts to streamline functioning of the administration.

Almost all major projects including construction of Signature bridge and expansion of Barapullah elevated road were delayed significantly due to lack of decision making.

No new infrastructure projects were also launched in the city in the last 10 months during President's Rule.

Security of women remained a concern for the city in the year gone by. Though Lt Governor promised series of steps, there was nothing concrete on the ground.

The transport department tried to streamline the operation of private vehicles in the city as it cancelled permit of 2,500 buses for violation of norms.

Following rape of a 27-year-old woman executive earlier this month allegedly by a driver of app-based taxi booking service Uber, the transport department promised to overhaul the entire taxi operation service.

Delhi government had banned web-based taxi booking services on December 8 following outrage over the rape but now it says they will be allowed to operate if they abide by specific guidelines including mandatory installation of GPS devices and providing full database of their drivers to police.

In September, the Delhi government hiked the circle rates -- the minimum valuation at which properties have to be registered -- by up to 20 per cent with an aim to check black money component in sale and purchase transactions.


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