Jaitley hoped Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal realises the difference between a fast at Rajghat (Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial) and giving a call to policemen to abandon their duties and obstructing the Republic Day parade.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader said in an article on his website that the right to peacefully protest was part of legitimate political activity and every citizen has the right to dissent through protest.
Referring to Kejriwal defending his protest despite prohibitory orders, Jaitley said there was a responsibility on an elected government and its head to carry on governance in accordance with the constitution.
“If we examine the details of what the AAP government in Delhi did, the answer to the question will be self-evident. The ministers abandoned the Sachivalya (secretariat). They took police by surprise and engineered a dharna (sit-in) at a place where it was prohibited.
“They broke the law. They sent messages to supporters to assemble in large numbers. Their supporters tried to break the police barricade. The head of the government delivered a speech advocating anarchy as a form of government,” Jaitley said.
He said Kejriwal “appealed to policemen to go on leave, discard their uniform and join the protest”.
“He threatened to obstruct the Republic Day parade by marching lakhs of his supporters on to Rajpath. If the police in Delhi had responded to his call and abandoned their duty coupled with an invasion of his supporters during the Republic Day parade, could it be said that the governance is being carried on in accordance with the constitution. The answer to this question is a definitive ‘no’,” Jaitley said.
The leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha said there was a difference between sitting on a fast at Rajghat and giving a call to policemen to abandon their duty.
“I am sure Arvind Kejriwal realises this,” Jaitley said.
Kejriwal Saturday defended his agitation.
The AAP leader, who had rebelliously called himself an “anarchist” during the agitation, said the constitution did not prevent a chief minister from protesting.
He asserted that if needed, he would agitate again.