The ringside observers of the Indian political system in Independent India are failing to gauge Kejriwal again and again. This unusual politician with a 2 day 1 night stay outside the power bank of the country, the Parliament, has unearthed the veracity of ‘democracy’. It was for the first time in the history of India or perhaps the world that the head of a democratically chosen provincial government slept on the street in a severe cold night.
Now, as Kejriwal relented, withdrew his dharna within 36 hours of tussle with partial success, it is needed to understand that all this mayhem was not just to suspend the 3-4 policemen. It was more than that. It may be the first step of the strategy to help Delhi get a full statehood.
There is a perpetual pitching for a single command system in the national capital if the Central government could not grant full statehood. It is difficult to make coordination among a host of authorities in the city. The issue becomes more if some rests with the center and some with the state. This poses the biggest challenge for the growth and development of the city. It is the special status of Delhi that is posing hurdle to Kejriwal for him to deliver better.
Statement of Objects and Reasons appended to the Constitution (Seventy-fourth Amendment) Bill, 1991 which was enacted as THE CONSTITUTION (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991 says that the question of re-organization of the Administrative set-up in the Union territory of Delhi came to the Union of India for some time. A committee was set up to inquire the issue with most possible dimensions recommended that Delhi should continue to be a Union territory and provided with a Legislative Assembly and a Council of Ministers responsible to deal with matters of concern to the common man.
But the committee recommendation failed to provide the power and authority to the legislature to deliver its responsibilities. With the insertion of article 239A of the Constitution some interesting facts surfaced like: a) It be called the National Capital Territory of Delhi or just NCT; b) The administrator there after are called Lieutenant Governor; c) It is this 239A that goes for a Legislative Assembly for the NCT. And the seats in such Assembly shall be filled by members chosen by direct election from territorial constituencies in the NCT.
The plurality of agencies, the lack of a unified command system and little administrative control with the state government are some of the real causes of the pain of this city.
Every year five lakh people come to this landlocked state called Delhi in search of jobs and livelihood. There is continuous pressure to develop NCR, especially Noida and Gurgaon, and form a common economic and development zone for overall development. If this happens, Delhi will surpass any other state in terms of development.
At present, all financial matters require the approval of the Union government before they are placed in the Assembly and any matter discussed and approved by the Assembly cannot become a law unless approved by the Government of India.
Furthermore, it is not possible for the Delhi government to take over the police as Delhi is the center of diplomatic enclaves and the home of various installations like the Parliament, North Block and South Block. Policing remains the most contentious issue between the Union of India and the State of Delhi. With a law enforcement agency out of the gamut of Delhi government, how a democratically chosen government is expected to deliver a better law and order situation?
However, the police can be divided into a special force for them and for the common man. In many states like Bihar, there is Special Auxiliary Force (SAF) to assist the police. In states’ jurisdictions, these Auxiliary Police officers can be empowered to make arrests for crimes that occur in their presence. They may be armed or unarmed. This may comprise ex-military, given that the ex-army men are already trained in arms and combats there was no ramp up time needed for them. They are found ready to contribute from day one.
For all this the legislative body is required to get the bill passed in Delhi Assembly. But again the bill cannot become a law unless approved by the Government of India. Perhaps Kejriwal has gone through all this and, as he found himself, he is caught between the center and the people's expectation. He found ‘dharna’ as the best tool to broadcast the center apathy.
In my opinion, the Roadies achieved more than what they actually expected with this 2 Day 1 Night power pack drama. Someone whispers but what a roadies to do? For them, Roadies have travel, adventure, drama and a touch of voyeurism. Got it!!!
Amit K. Sinha is a bilingual investigative journalist who works independently. For the last couple of years he is in Patna writing for many prints and portals.