New Delhi, July 4: In Delhi's power tussle between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and the Lieutenant Governor (LG), it is chief minister Arvind Kejriwal who has actually emerged as the main winner.
The Supreme Court's verdict on Wednesday clearly stated that Delhi LG Anil Baijal has no independent decision-making power and he cannot act as an obstructionist.
The apex court's latest ruling vindicated the AAP's stand that the Narendra Modi government at the Centre in order to weaken the Kejriwal-led party acted as a roadblock in the development of the national capital for three-and-a-half years.
If the Delhi LG, as accused by the AAP and other opposition parties, acted as "an agent of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre", then the Supreme Court's verdict is a personal blow to PM Modi's political career.
Although the PM had never made any statements regarding the ongoing Delhi power tussle over various issues, the BJP always backed the LG against the AAP government.
The BJP is yet to issue any statement regarding the Supreme Court's verdict on the much-talked-about case which in a way stated that who is the real boss of the national capital.
Welcoming the apex court's decision, the members of the Delhi's ruling AAP government said the verdict restored their faith in democracy. "A big victory for the people of Delhi...a big victory for democracy...," tweeted Kejriwal.
A big victory for the people of Delhi...a big victory for democracy...— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) July 4, 2018
The Congress, which has always been critical of the Delhi AAP government, too welcomed the Supreme Court's verdict.
"I think what the Supreme Court has said is very clear. As per the Article 239 (AA) of the Constitution, Delhi is not a state, it is a Union Territory. If the Delhi government and the LG don't work together then Delhi will face problems. The Congress ruled Delhi for 15 years, no conflict took place then," Sheila Dikshit, former Delhi CM and senior Congress leader, told ANI.
I think what SC has said is very clear. As per Article 239 (AA) of the Constitution, Delhi is not a state,it is a UT.If Delhi Govt&LG don't work together then Delhi will face problems. Congress ruled Delhi for 15 years, no conflict took place then: Sheila Dikshit, Former Delhi CM pic.twitter.com/UhRLmovOKN— ANI (@ANI) July 4, 2018
Weeks ahead of the apex court's verdict, Delhi CM Kejriwal and his colleagues sat on a nine-day dharna (strike) at the office of the LG in the national capital in June to demand an end to the strike of the IAS officers against the AAP government and the approval of the doorstep delivery of ration scheme by the LG.
The protest of Kejriwal and his AAP colleagues got support from four chief ministers--West Bengal's Mamata Banerjee, Andhra Pradesh's Chandrababu Naidu, Karnataka's HD Kumaraswamy and Kerala's Pinarayi Vijayan.
The sit-in protest of Kejriwal and team members ended after Delhi bureaucrats and the AAP government ironed out their differences to a great extent and agreed to work together for the greater good of the residents of the national capital.
The outcome of both the episodes--the AAP's protest against the LG and the Supreme Court's verdict--has further strengthened the Kejriwal government.
Recently, the AAP government raised its demand to give full statehood to Delhi. "The struggle for full statehood to Delhi will continue," declared Manish Sisodia, deputy CM of Delhi and senior AAP leader, after the apex court's ruling on Wednesday.
Since politics of India begins and ends in Delhi, Kejriwal's back-to-back victories will give him more power ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
As the opposition parties are trying their best to build an anti-BJP alliance for the upcoming general elections scheduled in April/May next year, the team Modi now has to be careful before taking any political decision.