NEW DELHI: Shunglu committee report has come as a shot in the arms of Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) opponents at a very opportune time. The committee report has been made public just before the crucial Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) election 2017.
No one is in doubt that the MCD elections are a matter of life and death for the fledgling party that recently suffered two major humiliations. In Punjab and Goa, where it was expected to win and form the government, it was beaten very badly and it will take years to recover from the humiliating losses.
In the given circumstances, the MCD elections have become all the more important for the Kejriwal led party that came to the power on plank of anti-corruption movement. The Shunglu committee report gives ammunition to the party opponents who have been claiming for the last two years that the party is incapable to run an effective government.
The Shunglu committee has accused the AAP government in Delhi of governing by whims bypassing the LG. BJP was quick to demand suspension of the Arvind Kejriwal government. “We demand answers from it for taking illegal decisions. It should be suspended and strict action initiated against those who are involved in unconstitutional work,” said Nirmala Sitharaman.
Immediately after the report was made public, Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken who has been facing criticism for MCD ticket distribution, demanded Kejriwal’s resignation and sought a CBI probe. He said the allegations can be divided into three parts: illegal land and office/residential space allotment on taxpayers’ money, nepotism and sending people on “non-statutory foreign tours”. The party will observe a ‘black day’ in all municipal wards on Friday.
The party reacted the allegations with disdain claiming that it was a plot to dislodge it from government. “Before elections, opposition parties come out with such allegations to show the party in poor light,” said AAP national spokesperson Raghav Chadha.
The Shunglu committee was set up by the then lieutenant-governor, Najeeb Jung, to examine the decisions taken by the Aam Admi Party Party (AAP) government. The three-member committee has alleged “gross misuse of power” by the state government. The Shunglu Committee was set up by Jung in August last year after the Delhi High Court gave primacy to the Lt Governor in Delhi administrative affairs. The report was submitted to the LG’s office in November last year, weeks before Jung resigned on 22 December. Jung had called over 400 files on decisions taken by the AAP government in Delhi for a review.
Besides, several high-profile appointments that were questioned by the committee, it also questioned a cabinet decision of allotting government-owned 206, Rouse Avenue bungalow to the AAP as its office. “Since land is a ‘reserved’ subject, this decision should be deemed null and void,” the report said, referring to land in Delhi not falling in the purview of the city government. “The elected government doesn’t have any power to deal with the subject of land, let alone allot it.”