The Opposition parties must take seriously the warning of Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal that the Union government is bent on imposing its will on the states and the Ordinance it has brought to circumvent the Supreme Court order to handover the executive and administrative control of the bureaucracy in the national capital to the elected government will be replicated in other states.
The Union government’s move was seen contrary to the spirit of India’s democratic Constitution which entrusts governance with the council of ministers collectively responsible to the elected legislature. The Ordinance is the product of the Union government’s unwillingness to go by that profound principle, or with the Supreme Court which sought to underline it. If this goes unchecked, then the government could introduce it in other states in different forms is the gist of Mr Kejriwal’s warning.
It is paradox that the Union government swears by democracy and the Constitution but use the very same democratic and constitutional ways to push its agendas paying very little attention to democratic norms. Law-making has been reduced to a charade with the houses getting very little time to deliberate even on key legislations. Mr Kejriwal’s reminder has added importance in that the crass attempts by the BJP to unseat elected governments by hook or crook and their long term impact on the polity have not been discussed with the importance it calls for.
The misuse of the federal agencies against political opponents will be the immediate issue that will connect with several of the Opposition leaders but the larger question pertains to the structure that keeps India, that is Bharat, as a union of states, united. To keep it intact is not a political expediency but a fundamental responsibility. Mr Kejriwal hints just at that.