Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal
File Photo

New Delhi: Delhi ministers and AAP MPs, MLAs and councillors led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will stage a protest at Jantar Mantar at 2 pm on Wednesday against the Centre's bill that gives overarching power to the Lieutenant Governor.

"All Delhi cabinet ministers, MLAs, Aam Aadmi Party MPs and councillors will participate in the protest," Development Minister Gopal Rai said on Tuesday, adding that the protest will be led by Kejriwal.

Rai claimed the central government was attempting to restrict the powers of an elected government in Delhi, rendering it virtually powerless.

"The Delhi government's growing popularity across the country appears to have become a thorn in the central government's eye," Rai said.

He claimed that the BJP-ruled Centre has conspired to limit an elected government's powers, and is attempting to overturn the judgement of a constitution bench of the Supreme Court -- all of it to restrict the powers of the Delhi government and to stifle its growth.

"Now every decision will be implemented at the mercy of the LG. Thus, the party has decided to protest against the central government's decision to introduce a bill that renders an elected government powerless. All MLAs of the Aam Aadmi Party, all ministers, along with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will be present at Jantar Mantar on 17 March from 2 PM onwards to register their protest against an undemocratic decision being taken by the BJP-ruled Central government," said Rai.

Earlier on Wednesday, AAP MPs protested at the Gandhi statue in Parliament's premises against the Bill for the second day in a row.

Kejriwal, on Monday, had also hit out at the Centre regarding the Bill and tweeted: "After being rejected by the people of Delhi (8 seats in Assembly, 0 in MCD bypolls), BJP seeks to drastically curtail powers of elected government through a Bill in Lok Sabha today. We strongly condemn BJP's unconstitutional and anti-democracy move."

"The bill is contrary to the Constitution Bench judgment which said that files will not be sent to LG. The elected government will take all decisions and send only the copy of the decision to the LG," added Kejriwal.

According to the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021, the "government" in the city would mean the "Lieutenant Governor" in context of any law to be made by the legislative assembly.

The bill that was introduced by Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy in Lok Sabha makes it mandatory for the Delhi government to take the opinion of the Lieutenant Governor (LG) before any executive action in the national capital.

"In order to give effect to the interpretation made by the Supreme Court, a Bill, namely, the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 seeks, inter alia, to clarify the expression 'Government', which in the context of legislations to be passed by the Legislative Assembly of Delhi, shall mean the Lieutenant Governor of NCT of Delhi, consistent with the status of Delhi as a Union territory to address the ambiguities in the interpretation of the legislative provisions," reads the excerpt of the Bill.

(With inputs from agencies)

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