Lokpal, Swaraj bills more important than being CM: Arvind Kejriwal
Holding his desired Jan Lokpal and Swaraj bills more important than any post, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Sunday threatened to resign if the Congress does not support his government in passing the legislation.
Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has 27 members in the 70-member assembly and is propped up by the Congress's eight members and two others, asserted that he did not join politics to become the chief minister.
Answering queries at a function here, he said the central government's permission was not needed to pass the Jan Lokpal bill.
He said his government intended to get Jan Lokpal and Swaraj bills passed in the assembly session, for which dates have already been suggested. The latter aims at decentralisation of power and provides for the formation of empowered "mohalla sabhas".
The two bills would be tabled in the assembly Feb 13, Kejriwal said, adding that his government intended to get the Jan Lokpal bill passed at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium Feb 16.
He contended that the constitution provides that Delhi government can pass any law except those relating to police, law and order and land, and there was no need to send the Jan Lokpal bill to the central government for prior clearance.
Asked what will he do if the Congress does not support the bill, Kejriwal said: "They may not do. If they do not support, I will resign. After that, people will teach them a lesson."
"For me, Swaraj bill is important, Jan Lokpal bill is important. I did not come to (politics to) become chief minister," he said.
"Hundreds of posts of chief minister can be sacrificed for the Jan Lokpal bill," he said, warning the government will fall if the Jan Lokpal and Swaraj bills are not passed.
The AAP government and the Congress Friday seemed headed for a showdown over the Jan Lokpal bill, with Kejriwal saying the central government's okay was not needed, while the Congress reiterated that it would not support the bill as it was "unconstitutional".
The Bharatiya Janata Party also attacked the AAP government for trying to push it "in an unconstitutional manner".
The differences came out in the open after the Solicitor General reportedly told Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung that the bill needed to be referred to the central government.
The AAP government has written to the home ministry seeking withdrawal of its 2002 order which directs the Delhi government to take approval of the ministry before passage of any bill in the assembly.
(Posted on 09-02-2014)