New Delhi: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party have burst into a new conflict with the union government, describing its representative in Delhi, the Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, as "a Congress agent."
That assessment is based on the fact that the Lieutenant Governor sought legal advice on whether Mr Kejriwal can ask law-makers in the Delhi Assembly to consider his pet proposal - the anti-corruption Jan Lokpal Bill - without prior approval from the Union Home Ministry. (For Kejriwal's anti-graft Jan Lokpal Bill, a new legal knot)
Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran has said that because the Lokpal will be funded at least in part by the union government, the Home Ministry must clear it before it is debated and voted upon by the Delhi legislature. "The Lieutenant Governor is meant to look after the interests of the people of Delhi, not work as an agent of the Congress," said AAP's Ashutosh.
Mr Kejriwal also wrote to the Lieutenant Governor today saying "Without looking at the draft of the bill, how could the Solicitor General comment on the bill?" and told the Lt Governor the he seems "to be under pressure from the home ministry and a particular party."
Mr Kejriwal had called a special four-day session starting February 13 for all members of the Delhi legislature to review the Jan Lokpal Bill and then vote on it. In a characteristically maverick move, he said the public was invited to attend the last day of the session at a large city stadium.
Mr Kejriwal has repeatedly disdained the union government for housing corrupt ministers and working overtime to shield them. The Lokpal law passed by Parliament is so ineffectual that "even a mouse will not be imprisoned" with it, he said, vowing that his version will be far more strident.