A bill proposing to grant more powers to Delhi's Lieutenant Governor, appointed by the Centre, as compared to the city's elected government, was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, March 24. The bill is seen as a huge setback to the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi which has repeatedly accused the BJP of trying to rule Delhi by proxy through the Lieutenant-Governor.
The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill states that the term "government" in Delhi refers to the Lieutenant Governor and his opinion needs to be taken before the Delhi government takes any action.
The bill was passed after two days of chaos in the Upper House, where opposition MPs repeatedly alleged that the bill will destroy democracy.
The legislation was passed in Rajya Sabha by a voice vote. The opposition had sought a division when the government moved the bill for consideration. During voting, 83 members were in favour of the bill while 45 opposed the bill.
"The way Draupadi's clothes were ripped off (in Mahabharat) -- the Constitution is being given the same treatment," Aam Aadmi Party's Sanjay Singh said, adding that the Constitution of the country is being changed without any Constitutional amendment.
The Aam Aadmi Party said the bill will not be accepted by the people and there will be protests, like the farmers' protests. The party also alleged that the reason the bill was brought was Kejriwal's support for the protesting farmers.
"Two crore people chose the government. What is our crime? All this was done because Kejriwal did not put farmers in jail when they came to Delhi. The bill must be cancelled," Singh said.
"It is a matter of taking away the authority of the elected government here and giving it to LG. It is against the constitution. It should not become a law," Congress's Mallikarjun Kharge said.
Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy said that the amendments have been brought to eliminate ambiguities in the 1991 Act and the changes were made in the spirit of a Supreme Court judgment.
"The amendments in the Act would create a sound government mechanism in Delhi by bringing in transparency and clarity, equity and inclusiveness and enhance accountability," he said.