Centre gives nod to Prez rule in Delhi

Centre gives nod to Prez rule in Delhi

The Union Cabinet on Saturday night accepted Lt Governor Najeeb Jung’s recommendation to place Delhi under President’s Rule and put the Assembly under suspended animation.

Jung rejected a recommendation by the outgoing AAP Cabinet to dissolve the Assembly to pave way for fresh elections. He, instead, decided to keep the option open to explore possibilities of forming a new government in the capital.

An emergency meeting of the Union Cabinet was called immediately on receipt of Jung’s report. It was decided to accept the recommendation in less than 45 minutes, spiking all speculation that elections to the Delhi Assembly could be held along with the general elections. There were media reports that even the Election Commission was ready to hold simultaneous elections.

On Friday, the 49-day-old AAP government resigned after it failed to push through the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Assembly.

This would be the first instance of Delhi being placed under President’s Rule after attaining the status of National Capital Territory in 1993. The decision of the Union Cabinet was being read as the Congress' reluctance to conduct Assembly elections along with the parliamentary polls, as it feared being pushed to the fringes of Delhi’s political arena, with the AAP and the BJP locking horns.

Kejriwal questioned Jung's recommendation while the BJP and the Congress said they respected the lieutenant governor. Kejriwal tweeted: “Why suspended animation of Delhi assembly? Would it not encourage horsetrading?”

He also said the lieutenant governor was “openly flouting” decisions taken by a majority government. “I am questioning the logic of his decision,” he said, adding that the Constitution said he was bound by the decision taken by the Cabinet of a majority government.

The urgency in the government was visible with Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde flying back from his hometown Solapur to attend the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The Cabinet decision would come into effect after promulgation of a notification by the President, likely on Sunday. The government is bound to get the decision, taken under the controversial Article 356, ratified by both Houses of Parliament within six months. It is not immediately known whether the government would bring the proposal to Parliament in the ongoing session or leave it to the new government.

Jung, in his report to the Centre, did not favour dissolution of the 70-member Assembly to explore fresh possibilities of forming a government. However, such a possibility was nowhere in sight as the BJP said it was not keen on forming a government now.

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