Once the political drum-beating ends and mature assessment is made of the verdict of the five-member Constitution bench of the apex court, realisation will trickle down that it was neither defeat nor victory that was judicially determined ~ only a reaffirmation of Constitutional realities, which would actually have an ego-deflating impact.
As well as cut to size the principal players in the protracted, unseemly, confrontation that diverted attention away from efficient governance of the National Capital Territory. For if the court flayed the Lieutenant-Governor for thinking he wielded “absolute” authority and advised against being “obstructionist”, it also cautioned the AAP government against “anarchist” tendencies. Being politicians, Arvind Kejriwal and Co. would try and brush off that criticism, but seasoned bureaucrat Anil Baijal will have to put much pride in his pocket to live down the reprimand in the reminder that, except in three select areas, he is required to accept what the Delhi Cabinet decides ~ referring differences to the President cannot be a weekly affair or an escape route.
Yet in declaring that Delhi was not a full-fledged state and Kejriwal did not equate with (for example) Mamata Banerjee, their Lordships told him to function within his limitations. And quit trying to punch above his weight. A message which Kiran Bedi in Puducherry also needs to hear.
There is little need to accord much importance to the national reaction to the court order. Yes, in some ways it does echo the oft-leveled charge that Mr Narendra Modi runs an authoritarian ship, but hardly endorses the recent drama by a quartet of non-Congress chief ministers.
Raising a Kejriwal-centric battle-cry against the NDA will not prove lethal: another rallying-point needs to be identified. Perhaps a valid comment came from three-time chief minister Sheila Dikshit ~ of course she had her differences with the Centre but never allowed them to poison her personal relations with Raj Niwas, sought a balanced way out.
Alas, balance, compromise and consensus are terms not found in the “Orbat” (order of battle) of any of the protagonists ~ and Mr Baijal allowed the impression to gain ground that he was batting for Raisina Hall, ignoring the aspirations of the people of Delhi. That was not the case when Dr AN Jha was in Raj Niwas, and Vijay Kumar Malhotra was Chief Executive Councillor.
If those aspirations mean anything in a democratic set-up then the Delhi and Central governments ~ and assuming the Lieutenant-Governor plays the role of honest broker ~ must work together. And both must stomach the gripe that one-sided electoral verdicts do not alter the Constitutionally-mandated sharing ~ not “division” ~ of power. That is what matters most to the people of Delhi: they had voted the AAP to the Delhi Assembly and the BJP to the Lok Sabha, only to be let-down by swollen-headed leaders ~ at Raj Niwas too.