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Centre wants to take country towards dictatorship: Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi(PTI): Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday made a blistering attack on the Centre, alleging that its notification conferring more powers on the Lt Governor was part of an “experiment” to take the country towards “dictatorship” and asserted that it was ready for a long fight on the issue.

In his address at the Delhi Assembly, Kejriwal lambasted Lt Governor Najeeb Jung who he said was “dancing to the tune” of the Centre and “deliberately” trying to create obstacles for the AAP government.

“Whatever is happening in Delhi is dangerous. This is the Delhi experiment of the BJP-led Centre. One by one, this experiment would be implemented in every non-BJP state. They want to take the country towards dictatorship. I appeal to all non-BJP chief ministers to come together and unite on this issue,” he said.

Kejriwal said the notification granting more powers to the LG in appointments of bureaucrats as well as matters relating to police and public order was issued considering “political” calculations as the Centre wanted to defame the AAP government.

“This is not a constitutional issue as BJP president yesterday said. This is a political issue. The Centre is trying to fail the AAP government. But we will continue our fight,” he said.

He also alleged that slums across Delhi are being demolished at the instructions of Jung so that people get agitated against the AAP government.

The Chief Minister was speaking on a discussion on a resolution against the May 21 notification issued by the Home Ministry.

He said he is going to write to all chief ministers on the issue. In the notification, the Centre gave absolute powers to the LG in appointment of bureaucrats while also clarifying that he need not “consult” the chief minister on subjects like police and public order.

The ACB of the Delhi government has also been barred from registering any case against officers and political functionaries of the central government.

However, the Delhi High Court yesterday ruled that the ACB has the authority to probe central government officials, including Delhi Police personnel.

Challenging the legality of the MHA notification, Kejriwal said the Centre was trying to “amend” the Constitution through a notification that amounted to violating the powers of the Parliament.

Referring to the arrest of a policeman on charges of corruption, he said the Home Ministry was going to the extent of approaching the Supreme Court for getting bail for him.

“Why is the Home Ministry trying to save him? The Centre has given a licence to corruption and working towards saving corrupt officials. They have conspired a lot. They should stop conspiring against us,” he said.

In a stinging attack on Lt Governor Jung, Kejriwal accused him of trying to appease the Centre by working against the Delhi government as he knew that otherwise he will be removed.

“Why was the LG not removed because the BJP wants such governors who make the life of all non-BJP chief ministers hell,” he said, adding “the LG was only interested in matters of transfers and postings and not on important issues like power and water.”

In a sarcastic note, he said, “They did not even have to change the Delhi LG as he is doing rather good work. Working against the chief minister makes his position more secure.” The chief minister said preparations were complete to put the Anti-Corruption Bureau of Delhi government under the LG which he said was “scuttled” by the Delhi High Court on Monday.

He did not give a clear indication on whether the AAP government will take the legal route in challenging the MHA notification.

“After the election I met the Prime Minister. I told him that we cannot do anything without your cooperation. We do not want to fight. We want to work together but we have a capacity to counter such designs,” he said.

Instead of “celebrating” the “drastic reduction” of corruption in Delhi, Kejriwal said the Centre was trying to “kill its Anti-Corruption Bureau and was trying to save the skin of corrupt officials. The Prime Minister should have called and praised us for reducing the corruption.” Earlier in the day, Delhi Assembly witnessed unruly scenes as AAP MLA Mahendra Goyal tore a copy of the MHA notification.

The AAP government on Tuesday moved a resolution in the Assembly against the notification terming it “unconstitutional”.

A number of AAP MLAs spoke during the debate on the resolution and attacked the Centre for issuing the notification. Moving the resolution, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had on Tuesday called the notification an “insult” to the “most popular mandate” of the people of Delhi.

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