CM, Deputy CM & conspiracy
The Delhi Police on Tuesday submitted its charge sheet in a Delhi court in the assault case of Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash and the court has summoned Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in the court on October 25. The police in its charge sheet said that Kejriwal, his Deputy Manish Sisodia, and 11 Delhi lawmakers are responsible for the attack on the Chief Secretary. The police have charged Kejriwal, Sisodia and the 11 MLAs who were present in the midnight meeting in which the Chief Secretary was allegedly assaulted and caused hurt. They were also accused of wrongful confinement and intentional insult. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has termed the allegations fake and laughable and said that it was the result of the extreme frustration of the Modi government. The Delhi Police charge sheet is a comprehensive document of 3,000 pages and details how the incident unfolded and the police investigation. Initially, the Delhi Chief Secretary had accused MLAs Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarbar of hitting him with fists in his face and head. The controversial meeting was called at Delhi CM's residence in the midnight of February 19 for discussing important issues but the meeting turned into a heated discussion between the bureaucrat and party leaders over a host of issues on which the AAP government thought the bureaucracy was not cooperating with the government. Issuing TV advertisements on the completion of AAP government's three years in power and doorstep delivery of ration being some of the key issues of discord.
Ever since the AAP government came to power in 2015, it faced stiff challenges from Delhi's Lieutenant Governor. A High Court ruling that virtually declared Delhi L-G as the chief administrator of the city government created more confusion in the ongoing turf war between the AAP government and the L-G. Later, a Supreme Court ruling set the matter right and declared that the elected government of Delhi has power on all matters except for the three reserved areas of police, land and law and order. The root cause of the discord between the AAP government and the L-G was lack of clarity on the jurisdiction of the two Constitutional functionaries. Initially, the AAP government started appointing officers of its choice to key posts but the move was stalled by the L-G, saying that the L-G has the final authority on matters related to the services department. This virtually left the AAP government with no power on the officials working in the Delhi government. In the ensuing tiff, the Delhi government officials began to ignore the elected government and took orders from the L-G office. The AAP government was making policies and plans in a fast-track mode, but their implementation remained a contentious issue as the officials would not take any action until they were approved by the L-G, who did not feel any need for expeditious disposal of files. The frustration was growing among AAP leaders. In this backdrop, the assault on the Chief Secretary took place. Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarbar were sent to jail. They later got the bail but the case was far from over. The Delhi Police which investigated the case has said in its charge sheet that the incident was part of a conspiracy in which all those present in the meeting were responsible for the attack on the Chief Secretary.
After the historic mandate in Delhi Assembly election in 2015 in which the AAP won 67 of the total 70 seats, AAP promised to transform the government and bring people-friendly policies and projects. Its path-breaking initiatives in education and health sectors by allocating a major share of the budget to these sectors were applauded by experts worldwide. But the government could not move on other initiatives because of the continued interference by the L-G. For every obstruction caused by the L-G, the AAP government blamed the Centre, especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi. During the past three years of the AAP government, the popularity of the party has diminished. It lost the local body election in all three municipal corporations in Delhi. Many of the founding members have left the party while some MLAs like Kapil Mishra has openly revolted against the party leadership. The Rajya Sabha tickets from the party mostly went to outsiders, generating more discontent and disappointments among the party workers. AAP leaders Kumar Vishwas and Ashutosh were especially peeved over the development. The Delhi Police charge sheet naming Kejriwal and Sisodia among others as the accused in the Chief Secretary assault case is a serious blow to AAP. Kejriwal is not new to agitation politics and he will surely make the police charge sheet an election issue. But in the backdrop of sliding popularity and top functionaries slowly deserting the party, Kejriwal's ability to keep his party in the reckoning will be a challenge.