Kejriwal threatens to quit over Jan Lokpal bill

Kejriwal threatens to quit over Jan Lokpal bill

Upping the ante over the Jan Lokpal Bill, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tonight threatened to resign if his pet anti-graft legislation is not passed by the state Assembly due to lack of support from other parties.

A day after he told PTI that he can "go to any extent" over the "huge" issue of corruption, Kejriwal said he does not have the right to stay in office if the contentious legislation does not get the approval of the Assembly.

The Bill is opposed both by the Congress, whose continued support is essential for the survival of his seven-week-old government, as well as the Opposition BJP.

"To remove corruption from the country, can sacrifice CM seat a hundred times," Kejriwal said, adding the "Government will fall if the Jan Lokpal Bill and the Swaraj Bill is not passed."

Bringing the Jan Lokpal bill to contain corruption was a key election promise made to the voters by his Aam Aadmi Party(AAP).

"To establish Swaraj in the country, CM's seat can be sacrificed thousand times. I have not come here to become the CM," the AAP supremo told reporters.

"I did not come here to become the chief minister. I have come here to remove corruption from the country.

"I am ready," he said when asked whether he was ready to quit on the iseue of Jan Lokpal and Swaraj Bills.

The Jan Lokpal Bill and Swaraj Bill will be tabled on the floor of the Delhi Assembly on February 13, the chief minister said.

In a House of 70, AAP's strength has been reduced to 27 including the Speaker after its MLA Vinod Kumar Binny was expelled from the party while the Congress has eight legislators. The BJP has 32.

"Corruption is extremely important issue and I will go to any extent," Kejriwal said during an interaction with PTI editors at the agency's head office here yesterday.

Asked if he would resign, Kejriwal had responded by affirming that he could go to any extent  over the "huge" issue of corruption. "That (resignation) you interpret," he added.

Asserting that both Congress and BJP will never allow passage of the bill, Kejriwal had said since the government has decided to probe the alleged corruption in Commonwealth Games projects, Congress' "pitch" has become more "shrill" in this regard and also there are allegations against BJP, which is in power in MCD for past seven years.

Kejriwal's comments yesterday came two days after he sent a strongly-worded letter to Lt Governor Najeeb Jung asking him to protect the Constitution and not the interest of Congress and the Home Ministry, saying they were keen on stalling his government's Jan Lokpal bill.

"We have written to Home Minister to withdraw the (2002) order which directs Delhi government to take approval of the ministry before passage of any bill in the Assembly," he said.

Questioning the validity of the MHA order, Kejriwal said government will not send the bill to the Home Ministry for approval.

The Constitution says Delhi government has "power to make law except in three subjects. But they cannot make any law which is repugnant to any central law. If they are, and if President grants assent after the passage of the law, then that also can be done."

"That means we do not have to take approval before introduction of a bill. That is the power given by the Constitution to Delhi. Constitution is supreme. Law-making powers of an assembly have to defined by the Constitution and not by anybody else," he said.

Last week, Delhi Cabinet cleared the draft of the much talked-about Jan Lokpal bill which provides for covering all public servants –-from chief minister to Group D employees -- and seeks life term as maximum punishment for those found guilty of corruption.

The Swaraj Bill intends to give the people direct power to curb corruption at the local level.

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