Press Trust of india

AAP hails SC verdict as 'big victory'; BJP says it should shun demand for full statehood

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New Delhi, Jul 4 :  The AAP today termed the Supreme Court verdict on the confrontation between its government and the LG as a "big victory" for the people and democracy, even as the Delhi BJP said the ruling party should now shun its "political demand" of full statehood to the city.

The Supreme Court today handed a major victory to Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal in his bitter power tussle with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, ruling that the LG has no independent power to take decisions and is bound by the elected government's advice.

The Congress said the verdict had done away with all possibilities of a "blame game" between the BJP and the AAP and now, the two parties should ensure that the development of the national capital, which was "stalled" for years, is resumed.

Soon after the verdict, Kejriwal tweeted, "A big victory for the people of Delhi... a big victory for democracy..."

His deputy Manish Sisodia termed the judgment as "historic" and recalled the landmark mandate that the people of Delhi had given to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Assembly elections in February 2015 when the party won 67 of the 70 seats.

"On behalf of the people of Delhi, I want to thank the Supreme Court, and the judges for this historic decision. They have pronounced that the people of Delhi are supreme," Sisodia told reporters.

"We have not yet read the judgement in full, but what the court has said that people are supreme, elected government will be supreme, and LG has no power to act arbitrarily ('LG ke paas manmani karne ki power nahn hai')," he said.

The "historic mandate" given to a new party was for development, welfare of the people and to facilitate resumption of long-pending works, Deputy Chief Minister Sisodia said.

However, "hurdles" were thrown in the way of the functioning of an elected government through a "wilful interpretation" of the Constitution, he alleged.

"Whether it was the issue of installation of CCTV cameras, ration scheme, transfer and posting (of officials), interference was being created," Sisodia said.

The judgment pronounced by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who was heading a five-judge Constitution bench, also held that the LG cannot act as an "obstructionist".

"There is no room for absolutism and there is no room for anarchism also," the five-judge bench of the court said in an unanimous ruling pronounced by Misra.

The Delhi BJP welcomed the apex court's judgment, saying the ruling party should now shun its "political demand" of full statehood to the city.

BJP MLA and Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta said the court's verdict has directed the AAP government to follow the law and it is expected that they will do so.

"We welcome the SC verdict. The Delhi government should have been following the law even without the order of the court. We hope, they will do so after the judgment," he said.

Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said the verdict has "decided" that Delhi is an Union Territory (UT) and the AAP should stop raising their "political demand" for full statehood.

"It is now decided that Delhi is an UT. So, the AAP and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal should stop raising the full statehood demand."

Kapoor said the judgment has directed for more cooperation between the LG and the city Cabinet and that all parties concerned should respect the verdict.

Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken said, "Since the apex court has clarified about the powers in Delhi, we hope that the development, which has been stalled ever since the Congress was voted out of power over four years ago, will start again."

The LG and the chief minister should stop the "blame game" now and develop Delhi as the Congress did during its 15-year rule (1998-2013), he said.

The Kejriwal-led AAP government has been in a constant tug of war with the LG over the power wielded by the two branches of the executive.

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