The Congress spoke in multiple voices on the Supreme Court verdict on the CM-L-G tussle in Delhi. Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram termed it a “thumping victory” for democracy. He added that the verdict had important lessons for Puducherry as well.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala was more circumspect. He welcomed the verdict, but sought to apportion the blame equally on the “egotistical battle between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal”. Congress party’s Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy said the verdict was “totally applicable” to Puducherry. Narayansamy is locked in a bitter turf battle with Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi, similar to one that Kejriwal faced in Delhi.
It embarrassed the Congress as the party has maintained that Puducherry and Delhi cases were not comparable. Some in the Congress bemoaned how a national party like theirs was letting its Delhi leadership of Ajay Maken and Sheila Dikshit dictate its view on the subject.
Consider the matter closed
Wednesday's 535-page judgment of the Supreme Court, hopefully ending the perennial Aam Aadmi Party-Lieutenant Governor (L-G) tussle in Delhi, is resplendent with paragraphs in bold, italics, underlines generous use of computer paintbrush.
Students of the Constitution will not miss any important point. It also indicates that the judges were not holidaying in cooler climes, a criticism levelled by jealous aam admis. But if the judges had not taken seven long months to write the erudite stuff and delivered a shorter one — on time — the nation would have been spared the unseemly spectacle of live-in by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his colleagues in L-G's reception lounge last month.
Why ‘gift’ and not sell?
There is trouble ahead for Air India’s plan to hand over its collection of 4,000 pieces of artwork to the Ministry of Culture. On Wednesday, Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member Derek O’Brien, who heads the Parliamentary standing committee on travel, transport and tourism, questioned the proposal and asked why Air India should “gift” artwork worth a billion plus rupees to the National Gallery of Modern Art. “Watch this space,” he signed off ominously. Is O’Brien hinting that debt-laden Air India should auction the collection?