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Centre's attack on AAP government dangerous for democracy: CPI-M

By Ians English

New Delhi, Oct 20: The CPI-M has denounced the "brazen and calculated" onslaught by the Centre on Delhi's AAP government, calling it "a dangerous attack on the democratic and federal structure".

"What has been happening in Delhi is truly scandalous," said an editorial in "People's Democracy", the Communist Party of India-Marxist mouthpiece.


"Ever since the AAP government was formed after the February 2015 election, there has been brazen and calculated attack by the central government to hamper the elected state government," it said.

"The naked use of central power through the Lt. Governor and Delhi Police (which is under Central jurisdiction) has more or less sidelined the state government and the elected legislature," it added.

Until recently, it was known that only three subjects - public order, police and land - were reserved for the Centre in the division of powers in Delhi.

"But in the 20 months of the AAP government, what has been witnessed is the encroachment and taking over of all subjects within the purview of the state government," the editorial said.

The CPI-M accused Lt Governor Najeeb Jung of acting "as an agent of the (Narendra) Modi government.

"The manner in which he intervened to remove the chief of the Anti-Corruption Bureau in May 2015 and replaced him with an officer, chosen by him, indicated the clear design of the Modi government to neutralise the AAP government's executive authority.

"The Lt Governor further cancelled the AAP government's order directing the power distribution companies to pay compensation to consumers for unscheduled power cuts.

"More recently, he has turned down the government's order to increase the minimum wages for workers," it said.

It said the "retrograde and flawed" Delhi High Court judgment of August 4, giving primacy to Jung in Delhi's administration, had virtually reduced the Delhi government to a non-entity.

That judgment has emboldened Jung to ensure that officers in Delhi are not bound to obey Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his government.

The CPI-M pointed out that 14 of the Aam Aadmi Party's 67 MLAs in the 70-member Delhi assembly had been arrested and jailed on a variety of charges which include rioting, extortion, sexual molestation, domestic violence, land grabbing and cheating.

"So far 21 percent of the AAP MLAs have thus faced criminal charges and prosecution. In no other state legislature has such a large proportion of MLAs been arrested and jailed.

"Whatever the merits of the individual case, it strains credulity that such a large number of elected representatives are facing criminal charges."

The CPI-M also blasted the Congress for not opposing these "anti-democratic interventions" of the Centre and instead squarely blaming the AAP government for the plight it finds itself in.

It said Kejriwal had sought to portray the Central intervention more in personalised terms as Modi's vendetta politics "whereas it is important to highlight this as a dangerous attack on the democratic and federal structure of the polity by a union government and the ruling party which is displaying authoritarian trends.

"There are many of acts of omission and commission of the AAP government which can be criticised and opposed. But the authoritarian attack on democracy and federal structure needs to be opposed by all."


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