Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday assured her counterpart from Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, that her party would support him in his fight against the Central ordinance to control appointments and transfer of bureaucrats in that city state.
After a nearly hour-long meeting here, Banerjee told newspersons that a forthcoming vote in Rajya Sabha on a bill to convert the central ordinance on control of services in Delhi into law, will be a “semi-final before the 2024 elections.” Kejriwal who came to Kolkata along with Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann as part of a nationwide tour to garner support for his fight also launched an attack against the BJP.
He alleged the saffron party “buys MLAs, uses CBI, ED to try to break” opposition governments, besides using Governors to disturb non-BJP governments such as “Bengal and Punjab”.
Banerjee told newspersons, ”We support AAP in the fight against the Central ordinance …Request all parties not to vote for BJP’s law (on controlling appointments in Delhi)”.
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She also said, I” Request all parties not to vote for BJP’s law (on controlling appointments in Delhi) … this (contest in the Parliament) will be a semi-final before the 2024 elections.” The feisty TMC leader also quipped ”The double engine (BJP rule in both state and centre) has become a troubled engine.” Kejriwal and Mann also turned the impromptu press conference held after the meeting of the two leaders, into an attack on the BJP and central government.
The AAP leader and Delhi chief minister said ”BJP has made a mockery of democracy … where it cannot form a government, it buys MLAs, uses CBI, ED to try to break the government …Governors to disturb non-BJP governments such as Bengal and Punjab”. The bone of contention between the AAP government and the BJP has been the Central government ordinance setting up a National Capital Civil Service Authority which overturned a Supreme Court order last week giving control of services, excluding those related to police, public order and land, to the elected government in Delhi.
The new ordinance takes away these powers from the Delhi state government and gives them to a committee which would be effectively controlled by the Centre. A central law has to be brought to replace the ordinance and opposition parties are hoping to stall that in the upper house or Rajya Sabha when it comes up for debate. The AAP has already sought the support of all non-BJP parties saying this is a ”time for agni pariksha” for opposition parties, and that they should come together if they want to save the country’s democracy and Constitution. Kejriwal has earlier met Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over the ordinance issue and the latter has extended full support to AAP in its tussle with the Centre on the matter.
The AAP chief is also likely to meet Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray and NCP leader Sharad Pawar on Wednesday in Mumbai.
The ordinance has to be ratified by Parliament within six months. For which, the Centre will have to bring a bill for its passage in both Houses of Parliament, the opposition hopes.