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Mamata Assures Support To Kejriwal In Fight Against Central Ordinance


Published on: May 23, 2023 | Updated on: May 23, 2023

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in a meeting with Delhi Chief Minister and AAP Convener Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, in Kolkata, Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (PTI Photo)

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 the city state.

Kejriwal who had come along with his party comrade and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann as part of a nationwide tour to garner support for his fight against the Centre's ordinance on control of services in Delhi, held a nearly hour-long meeting here with Banerjee at the state secretariat.

Kejriwal told newspersons that a forthcoming vote in Rajya Sabha on a bill to convert the central ordinance into law, will be a semi-final before the 2024 elections.

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)".

The feisty TMC leader also quipped "The double engine (BJP rule in both state and centre) has become a troubled engine" and added mysteriously, "Its only a matter of six months (that the central government will stay in power) ...But if a miracle occurs, they might have to go before that too."

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".

He went on to predict,"This (contest in the Parliament) will be a semi-final before the 2024 elections.

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' (trial by fire)" 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.

Reacting to Tuesday's developments, the BJP termed Kejriwal's trip to meet his counterpart in Kolkata as "political tourism" of Prime Ministerial aspirants ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

The political tourism of several Prime Ministerial aspirants from the opposition camp has started ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. But this will not yield any result, as there is no vacancy for the Prime Minister's post in 2024," BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh said.

Reacting to the AAP-TMC leadership meeting, state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, "The AAP and the TMC follow the same policy of trying to weaken the Congress and increase their strength, thus helping the BJP".

Questioning the TMC's "credibility", CPI(M) central committee member Sujan Chakraborty alleged that the TMC has mostly avoided voting against bills brought by the Modi government.