Monday, November 28th, 2022 10:26:43

Strange War of Delhi Government

Updated: May 8, 2010 12:44 pm

Mahatama Gandhi provided the system of complete decentralisation through local self-governing institutions. He felt that it would solve all the local social economic, political and cultural problems of the society. This would provide justice in a speedier and less costly way. The makers of the Constitution put it under chapter IV of the Constitution under the title Directive Principles. It was the passage and implementation of 73rd and 74th amendments which showed us the dreams of Gandhiji in action. Prior to this the elected local, rural and urban institutions used to remain in office with the whims of state government which always considered the to be enemies. Elections to these bodies used to be held at the pleasure of government. Now no local body institution can be superseded and new elections cannot be avoided. These must take place within six months.

            The Congress party is in power both at the union and state levels in Delhi. However, it could not get majority at the local bodies’ elections, where power has been transferred to BJP after ten years. Now the new MCD headquarter is ready and since the municipal corporation rules provide that the name of any building concerning it would be suggested by the corporation itself. The municipal corporation has therefore names it after Jan Sangh’s first President Dr Syama Prasad Mookerji. But the Congress is allergic to everything done by BJP. But Lt Governor agreed with the name of “New Municipal Corporation Building” for the time being. He did it to reach a compromising situation, though he is not ignorant of municipal corporation rules. Whatever the rules & convention are, they need to be strictly followed. The government should have approached the municipal corporation for its rules & their implementation. This is a grave case of intolerance and flouting of rules. There is also the ego problem of the Chief Minister to work against the norms which provide an edge to the corporation and not to the Congress party or the government.

            Recently price of milk have again been increased for the sixth time in Delhi and the prices of essential commodities are also soaring at a rapid speed. The Delhi government is contemplating to raise bus fares also. It would increase the percentage of prices of essential commodities. To a related question she replied that the pay of the employees has been enhanced and as such there is no harm in increasing the prices and bus fares. She also admitted that she had never made any journey in a local bus. No one can accept this reply which was like “Martin Fork” during the period of Henry VII. In fact the pay and dearness allowance of only the government employees have been increased and that too in the light of prevalent price rise and not anticipated future price rise. Majority of the people are organised or unorganised private labour, retired (with or without pension) people, living below the poverty line of middle class. Interestingly she had given the same type of reply when earlier she had increased the Metro fares and milk prices. “When one gets facilities he should be ready to pay for it,” said the Chief Minister.

            This is an arrogant justification based on inflated ego. Recently, the Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Vijay Kumar Malthotra sought the assurance from the House that beef would not be served to Commonwealth players during the games in Delhi since Delhi Agricultural Cattle Protection Act 1994 framed to replace Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act 1955 was extended to Delhi in 1966 is in vogue. The CM did not agree to it by saying that this Act is for the municipal corporation not for Delhi administration to implement.

            It is possible that she was ignorant of the jurisdiction of the Act or had she said it out of her inflated ego. But the next day when the Opposition brought the text of the Act, her Minister for Civil Supplies, Raj Kumar Chauhan immediately admitted the version of Malhotra and assured the House that beef would not be served to the players. Protest and dissent are inherent rights, of everyone in Indian democracy. Probably the Opposition considers it spicy to expose the Chief Minister’s ignorance of law. But a question for all is: “Can brute majority justify wrong things?” This of course, is happening.

By Ravindra Nath Pal

Comments are closed here.