Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has only himself to blame for the body blow he received when the High Court ruled that the Lieutenant-Governor (LG) was the ultimate authority in the state. What the court did was, read out the Constitution and the law under which the Delhi government was formed to make it clear that the buck stopped at the LG’s table. It was a pity that Kejriwal found it necessary to waste the court’s time to know what was obvious to one and all. For a full-fledged government anywhere in the world, it must fulfil two conditions — land and law and order should be under its control. In Delhi, both are under the Central government.
Kejriwal is not the first chief minister since Delhi — a Union Territory — was given the status of a state. His immediate predecessor Sheila Dikshit completed three full terms without any tug of war between the CM and the LG. Earlier, BJP’s Sahib Singh Verma and Madanalal Khurana held the post without any controversy. In the case of Kejriwal, it was a relentless fight with the LG right from the word go. At the Centre, the President is the head of the state. It is in his name and with his concurrence that everything is done. In the states, it is the Governor who is the titular head.
If the LG of Delhi has more powers than a Governor, it’s because Delhi is a glorified municipal corporation and a Union Territory. Now that the matter has been solved once and for all, Kejriwal would do well to understand his limitations and work within the system. It is now obvious that the Delhi Cabinet will have to take into account the constitutional scheme of things under which the LG has to approve every major decision. This, however, does not prevent the Aam Aadmi Party government from fulfilling its promises to the people. Instead of wasting time in needless controversies and dragging the issue further, Kejriwal will do well to play the assigned role in public interest.