Meenakshi Lekhi calls Arvind Kejriwal ‘1/4th CM’; defends Centre’s Delhi Ordinance Bill


Defending the Centre’s Delhi Ordinance Bill, 2023, Union minister Meenakshi Lekhi called it a ‘purposeful Bill’, adding that this legislation is seeking to strike a balance between power and responsibility. Before she began speaking on the Bill, the Union minister deliberated on criticising the Delhi government, while calling Arvind Kejriwal the ‘1/4th chief minister’ of the national capital, as it is not a full state.

“I called him the 1/4th CM because the (Supreme) Court has already said that the law and order related matters, almost half the power, will go to the central government. Only one issue was remaining and that was on services, and all the fight is over this matter,” she said.

Without making direct references, Lekhi took a jibe against Kejriwal, over alleged corruption matters against his government, asking how a person who called himself a common man became a ‘nawabzaada (prince) of sheesh mahal (palace of mirrors)’. She was pointing at reports of spending over ₹40 crore on the renovation of Kejriwal’s official residence.

The Union minister also criticised the Kejriwal government over the handling of recent flood-like situation in the national capital after the Haryana government released a significant amount of water from its Hathnikund barrage, which regulates the flow of the Yamuna river.

She argued that there is Centre’s interference in the functioning of Delhi in crucial sectors. Regarding healthcare, from AIIMS to Safdarjung, Lady Harding and Lady Irwin hospitals, all are run by the central government. “Ahead of the the G20 meet, we asked them (Delhi government) to fix the roads. They said we won’t spend money on that. We allocated around ₹700 crore to them from the Union road and transport ministry. Now you are asking how Centre is interfering in matters related to Delhi’s governance?”

She also rapped the Opposition for using the Article 356 of the Indian Constitution, which talks about the imposition of President’s Rule in a state, for ‘over 90 times’. The Opposition MPs responded with the Centre’s alleged misuse of its agencies including the Enforcement Directorate (ED). In an attempt of rebuttal, Lekhi said, “Shaant raho, tumhare ghar na ED aajaye. (Keep quiet, or ED may arrive at your home).”