Millennium Post

Modi-Kejriwal battle must stop

Differences of opinion between the Centre and the states are quite common in a federal structure. This is more so if different political parties rule in the state and at the Centre. It is not uncommon for Chief Ministers to walk out of the National Development Council or Inter State Council protesting against the Centre’s treatment of their states. Chief Ministers accusing the Centre of using the CBI as a weapon against them is also not new. In fact the CBI director Ranjit Sinha even described the agency as a “caged parrot.” Whether this is true or not, the CBI is not an autonomous agency and the party in power has some control over it.

Therefore Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s tantrums about the over-enthusiastic CBI raid in his office on Tuesday is not surprising. Although the CBI quickly responded that office of his Principal Secretary, Rajendra Kumar, was searched because of a complaint against him, Kejriwal suspected a sinister motive behind the raid, claiming it was to dig up dirt on the Chief Minister. He also claimed that the CBI was looking for records about the DDCA file which names Arun Jaitley. The BJP on its part refuted all these allegations and criticised the AAP leader for using foul language against the Prime Minister.

What Modi should have learnt by now is that given an opportunity, Arvind Kejriwal will cry victim trying to put everyone else on the wrong. For instance in this case, even Kejriwal admitted that the case against Rajendra Kumar was pertaining to the period he worked in the predecessor Sheila Dikshit’s government. A CBI raid might have been planned but the AAP chief waited till it happened . The CBI too messed up the situation by raiding the offices when the Parliament was in session. It could have been handled in a better manner by taking Kejriwal into confidence. This CBI raid has united the opposition in Parliament with the TMC, Left Parties, and the JD(U) coming to the rescue of Kejriwal.

Unfortunately, these allegations and counter allegations have reached at its lowest ebb. Calling the Prime Minister of the country a “psychopath” and “coward” is not befitting of a Chief Minister. Even in politics there are certain decencies observed in dealing with the opponents.

On a different note, Kejriwal has been working to a pattern since he came to power in February with an unprecedented poll victory over the BJP and the Congress. Since then, he has been accusing the Centre of trying to run Delhi proxy through Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung, calling him the Centre’s agent. Kerjwial wants to take on the Modi government by accusing the Prime Minister directly for all the ills in the capital. He has been taking on the officials, the media, the BJP, and the Congress since he took over. His jibe at Delhi policemen calling them “thulla” has not gone down well with the police force.

The basic point is that the Chief Minister wants complete control of the state while Delhi remains essentially a Union Territory despite having an elected Chief Minister and a legislature. The Union Government is not willing to hand over land and police powers to the Delhi Chief Minister. Therefore, one sees a pattern in his focussed plan ever since he took over. These ten months, he has won some and lost some in his effort to fight the Centre. Kejriwal won a small victory when the Delhi High Court ordered that the Delhi anti-corruption bureau was to take orders from the Delhi government and not the Lt. Governor. Following three rapes within a week in October, Kejriwal reiterated his demand for full control over the police department. Last week he created a public row when the Railway Ministry undertook a demolition drive at the Shakur Basti slums, which gave him more ammunition to fire at the Centre.

The unfortunate part of the whole thing is that this constant bickering between the Centre and the state does not auger well. After all both Kejriwal and Modi had been elected with the hope that they would provide good governance . The people of Delhi want amenities to improve, and in the fight between the Centre and the Delhi government they should not be caught. Can Kejriwal provide all the things he had promised to his electorate without the help of the Central Government? People will get disenchanted with him sooner or later if he goes on blaming the others for his failures. Kejriwal is still in his campaign mode and must move on to governance mode.

Modi has been talking of cooperative federalism and Team India. If he is unable to keep the Delhi government on his right side what signal will it send to the other non-BJP governments in the states? Both sides should adopt a give and take attitude because in governance nothing is black or white and compromise is needed.   Both sides should find ways of dealing with each other and only dialogue between the two would ensure smooth functioning. 

(Views expressed are strictly personal)
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