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Delhi CM Kejriwal Seeks Support From Congress Against Centre’s Restoration Of Lieutenant Rule

On Thursday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal submitted a third letter to Congress asking for backing against a planned law from the Centre that would reinstate the Lieutenant Governor’s authority over bureaucrat transfers and postings in the city. The Centre’s executive order from last month, which overturned a Supreme Court decision upholding the elected government’s control over bureaucrats, has divided the Congress up to this point.

Mr. Kejriwal is also amassing political support for his legal challenge of the Center’s action.

He has already met with numerous influential opposition figures, including Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray, both of whom are close supporters of the Congress in Maharashtra. He met MK Stalin, the leader of the DMK and the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, on Thursday.

At the subsequent press conference, Mr. Kejriwal made his point quite clear. “The Congress need to back this. In the meeting that is set, the specifics of a combined, united opposition for the 2024 elections can be hammered out.

Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge have already agreed to a meeting request from Mr. Kejriwal, but no response has been received as of yet.

He is supported by Sharad Pawar and the Shiv Sena Uddhav Thackeray group, who are friends of the Congress. Mr. Stalin joined them on Thursday, pledging assistance to stop the Center’s measure in the Rajya Sabha. The AAP leader will next speak with Hemant Soren, a supporter of the Congress in Jharkhand, on Friday.

Additionally, Mr. Kejrwal has the support of the Left, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, and Nitish Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar and the opposition’s mediator.

The Congress is under increasing pressure as a result of the expanding group of leaders who support Mr. Kejriwal. The Congress has been constrained by both electoral and ideological imperatives.

The antagonism of the Congress towards the leaders of the AAP, notably Mr. Kejriwal, stems from Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption campaign, which eventually assisted the AAP in ousting the Sheila Dikshit administration in Delhi.

Since then, AAP has taken over the political territory once held by the Congress in states like Gujarat, Punjab, and Goa.

The leaders of the Congress in Delhi have regularly referred to Mr. Kejriwal’s party as the “B-Team of the BJP” and have opposed any demonstrations of support for AAP.
However, pressure has also come from the opposing side.

“In my opinion, Arvind should seek cooperation from non-BJP parties, such as the Congress or the BJD… Arguments are not appropriate at this time. Sharad Pawar had stated following his meeting with Mr. Kejriwal that “democracy must be saved.”

The CPM’s mouthpiece “People’s Democracy” had delivered a more forceful message.

“At the political level, the entire opposition should unitedly oppose the ordinance when it is sought to be legislated through in parliament. The Congress party should stop dithering about its stand. The animosity towards Arvind Kejriwal and the AAP cannot determine its position. This is not about any individual leader or a single party – this is a basic attack on democracy and federalism,” read an editorial in the paper.

“How unitedly the opposition parties move to oppose the ordinance will have a bearing on the unity to be forged for the bigger battle against the BJP looming ahead,” it added.

If AAP wants to have any chance of challenging the government in Rajya Sabha, eliminating the Congress from the mix is a must. The largest opposition party, the Congress, with 31 MPs in the upper house.

To pass the constitutional change measure, the BJP will require a three-fourths majority, or more than 186 MPs.

Of the 248 members of the house, the NDA presently holds 110 seats. Given that the opposition has 110 members, non-aligned parties like Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal and the ruling YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh would play a significant role if both sides of the political spectrum join forces.

In the Rajya Sabha, the BJD and YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress both have nine representatives. They can increase the government’s strength to 218 if they decide to lend it their support.

Abstentions and walk-outs are also a possibility, which would lower the majority score.

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