New Delhi: Omar Abdullah today came out in strong support of Arvind Kejriwal on the issue of his ongoing tussle with the Delhi Lt Governor, saying Jammu and Kashmir had to pay a “heavy price” for similar issues involving the office of the chief minister and the Raj Bhavan.
The former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister said that Kejriwal, with an overwhelming mandate to run the government, should have the “freedom and flexibility” to choose his team instead of an “unelected LG”.
“I have been the Chief Minister of a state and particularly where this perception often comes in of New Delhi running the state from the backseat. Either don't have a government in Delhi. Run it through the L-G's office, which is fine.
“But why have an election where you elect the chief minister and then tie his/her hands behind the back and then take decisions. Nobody has elected the LG of Delhi,” he told PTI.
Abdullah, who had earlier backed Kejriwal through a series of tweets, said numerous governments were “dismissed” in Jammu and Kashmir over similar tussle between the Chief Minister's office and the governors.
“People of Delhi have elected Kejriwal whether you like it or not. You have to give that person freedom and flexibility to choose his/her team and then to succeed or fail but not like this where you end up in a sort of power tussle.
“J&K has paid a very heavy price for this sort of tussle between the Raj Bhavan and the CM's office. We had numerous governments that have been dismissed and sort of machinations that we have seen Raj Bhavan indulge in,” he said.
The former J&K CM said although he had no personal rapport with Kejriwal and was yet to meet him, his support was based purely “on principle”.
“I have a whole lot of sympathy for Kejriwal on this issue. It (support) was purely on principle. I mean I believe that (opinion expressed through tweets), not because I have any personal rapport with him,” he said.
Referring to AAP's massive electoral victory and stunning majority in the Delhi Assembly, Abdullah said it would not be repeated as the verdict was based “purely on expectations”.
“But it doesn't go beyond that. The verdict that the guy has got, I hope he enjoys it because he is never going to have it again. It's inconceivable (67 out of 70 MLAs) because he will have a track record that he will have to explain and there is no way he is going to to be able to realise those expectations to the point that he gets 67 out of 70 next time,” he said.
The appointment of senior bureaucrat Shakuntala Gamlin as acting Chief Secretary by the LG last week had triggered a full-blown war between the ruling AAP and the Lt Governor with Kejriwal questioning the LG's authority and accusing him of trying to take over the administration.
The Centre yesterday issued a notification giving absolute powers to the LG in appointment of bureaucrats and clarifying that he need not “consult” the chief minister on subjects like police and public order.