New Delhi: A controversial bill proposing to give more powers to Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor — the Centre’s representative — compared to the city’s elected government, was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday amid a walkout by the Congress and several other opposition parties including Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party.
The bill is seen as a huge setback to Arvind Kejriwal’s government, which has been sparring with the Lieutenant Governor since it came to power for the first time in the national capital in 2013.
The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill makes it clear that the term “government” in Delhi means the Lieutenant Governor and his opinion has to be taken before the Delhi government takes any executive action.
Kejriwal, in a tweet, said: “RS passes GNCTD amendment Bill. Sad day for Indian democracy. We will continue our struggle to restore power back to people. Whatever be the obstacles, we will continue doing good work. Work will neither stop nor slow down”.
The bill was passed after two days of chaos in the Upper House, where opposition MPs repeatedly said it will destroy democracy. The opposition has been demanding that the bill be sent to a Select Committee.
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 while 45 opposed the bill. Just before the passage of the bill, the Congress too walked out.