“This seems like our last session,” Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in the Delhi assembly after his plans to introduce the anti-graft Jan Lokpal Bill in the Delhi legislature failed. He resigned soon after. In a major embarrassment for him, other parties had voted that the Jan Lokpal bill had not been tabled, minutes after he asserted it had.
Arvind Kejriwal accused the BJP and the Congress of blocking his bill in retaliation after he ordered an FIR, or police complaint, against Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani over gas prices.
“The Constitution does not require us to take permission for the Jan Lokpal Bill. We will fight on the streets. We are not here to save our government, but save the nation from corruption,” Mr. Kejriwal told the house.
Legislators from other parties shouted angrily as he said he was tabling the proposal to set up an ombudsman agency to investigate corrupt government officers.
The BJP and the Congress said Delhi’s constitutional head, the Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, has vetoed the bill and it should not be taken up for consideration because it does not have his assent.
The union government’s lawyers say that’s obligatory partly because the ombudsman agency Mr Kejriwal is proposing will be funded at least in part by funds from the centre.
The protests in the assembly forced the Speaker to call for a vote. The majority rejected the tabling of the proposal.
“I reject the Centre’s illegal directives,” a combative Mr. Kejriwal declared, rejecting the opinion that the bill must be sanctioned by the Lieutenant Governor or the Centre before it is reviewed by the state legislature.
Supporters gathered at the AAP office cheered as they watched the live telecast of the Chief Minister’s address.
After the assembly adjourned, Mr. Kejriwal drove to his office in his Wagon R. He had said he would resign if he is prevented by other parties from introducing the bill.
Mr. Kejriwal has said that the Jan Lokpal bill is the heart of his party’s agenda and is essential to cleanse the polity of deep-rooted graft.