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To stop 'mockery of democracy', SC our 'last hope', says AAP

By Vikas Sv

New Delhi, July 4: Stopping just short of saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government usurped the power of democratically elected government in Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday said that the Supreme Court is their 'last hope'.

Speaking to OneIndia, AAP's Karnataka chief Prithvi Reddy said that they are expecting the apex court to restore the balance and atleast give as much powers to Arvind Kejriwal-led government in Delhi as former Congress chief minister Sheila Dikshit had.

File photo Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Prithvi Reddy

"If the decision is against us then it is as good as having perrmanent President's rule in Delhi," Reddy said.

The Supreme Court will in a short while deliver its verdict on power struggle between the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government and the Centre, represented by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, in Delhi. The Arvind-Kejriwal led government had filed a batch of appeals challenging the Delhi High Court's order holding the Lieutenant Governor (LG) as the administrative head of the national capital.

[Kejriwal vs LG: SC limits LG's role, hands out more power to Delhi government]

Reddy said that issue of statehood for Delhi is something they would keep pushing. He said that today's verdict has got more to do with democratically elected government getting more control to improve the national capital, than about statehood.

When asked as to how Sheila Dikshit managed three terms under different governments at the Centre, he said, "Sheila Dikshit government had more control over Delhi. Departments and services essential for Delhi reporting to her. The bare minimum that we expect is that current Delhi government gets as much control as Sheila Dikshit had."

He then said how the control of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) was snatched away from the AAP government when they fully set to act against corruption.

Reddy said that Dikshit was a Chief Minister even under former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, whom the AAP Karnataka chief called a 'statesman'. Both Prime Ministers under whom Sheila Dikshit government functioned were 'amicable'.

[AAP-LG tug of war: A timeline]

The AAP dispensation had argued before the apex court bench, that it possessed both the legislative and executive powers. It had said that the chief minister and the council of ministers had the legislative power to make laws as well as the executive authority to enforce the enacted statutes.

The high court, in its August 4, 2016 verdict, had said that LG is the administrative head of National Capital Territory and AAP government's contention that he is bound to act on advice of Council of Ministers was "without substance".

Last month, Kejriwal held an unprecedented nine-day protest against the Lieutenant Governor at his office, over the Delhi bureaucrats holding an unofficial strike in the government by refusing to cooperate with the ministers. While L-G Baijal refused to meet the protesting Cabinet ministers, including CM Kejriwal, the protest saw several non-NDA political parties join hands to support Kejriwal in his demands.

Meanwhile, the AAP has decided to open 3,000 centres across the city where signed forms in support of the party's full statehood demand for Delhi will be deposited by the party workers.

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