The Congress on Sunday made it clear that it will not support the Centre's ordinance on the control of administrative services in Delhi and will oppose any such attempt of the central government to 'sabotage federalism' in the country.
The Aam Aadmi Party, which governs Delhi, said the Congress' 'unequivocal opposition' to the Delhi ordinance was 'a positive development'.
The Bharatiya Janata Party hit out at the Congress alleging that 'political desperation and confusion' is gripping it.
Congress general secretary K C Venugopal said the party's stand is clear as it will oppose any such move by the Centre to intervene in states ruled by opposition parties through the governors and has decided to oppose the Delhi ordinance in Parliament whenever a bill comes up.
"We are consistently opposing the attempts of the Union government to sabotage federalism. We are consistently opposing the attitude of the central government to run the opposition states through the governors. Our stand is very clear, we are not going to support the Delhi ordinance," he told PTI.
Reacting to Venugopal's remarks, AAP MP and national spokesperson Raghav Chadha tweeted, 'Congress announces its unequivocal opposition to the Delhi Ordinance. This is a positive development.'
Venugopal said the Congress usually convenes its parliamentary strategy committee meeting just before a session to decide on important matters coming up in Parliament.
"Yesterday, we had a meeting and we already made the decision," he said, when asked whether the Congress will support or oppose the Delhi ordinance.
"Not only the Delhi ordinance, any attempt to sabotage the federal system of the country and intervene in the state matters by using the Governor, we are not going to support. The same way, on the Delhi ordinance also, we are not going to support. It is very clear," he said.
With the Congress making its stand clear on the Delhi ordinance issue, Venugopla hoped that the AAP will now participate in the upcoming meeting of the opposition parties in Bengaluru.
"I think they are going to join the meeting tomorrow. This is our thinking," the Congress leader said.
The AAP is, however, yet to make it clear if it will join the opposition meeting. The party had earlier said it would join the meeting only if the Congress extended its support to the AAP in opposing the Delhi ordinance in Parliament.
Targeting the Congress, BJP spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said, "Disunited Congress holding fractured 'Opposition meeting' in Bengaluru should first explain differences within the Congress".
'On issue of Delhi Service Ordinance: Punjab Congress Mr Pratap Bajwa categorically said 'AAP doesn't deserve Congress Support'. Congress leader Mr Maken said 'Congress should not support AAP'. Today, Congress general secretary K C Venugopal says 'Congress not in favour of Ordinance-support AAP'.
'Political desperation and confusion grips Congress,' he said on Twitter.
In their first meeting in Patna, the opposition parties resolved to take on the BJP unitedly in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP-led central government brought the ordinance on the transfer and posting of bureaucrats in Delhi in May, virtually negating a Supreme Court verdict giving the elected government in Delhi the control over services matter.
The ordinance seeks to set up a National Capital Civil Service Authority for the transfer of and disciplinary proceedings against Group-A officers from the DANICS cadre.
Transfer and postings of all officers of the Delhi government were under the executive control of the lieutenant governor before the May 11 verdict of the apex court.
Congress leader Pawan Khera said his party 'has always opposed any attempt to attack the federal structure, be it by the Tamil Nadu governor or by any other governor in a state where regional parties or the Congress is in power, as it was done in Bengal. We have always opposed it'.
In that manner the Congress party will oppose the ordinance in Delhi, he said.
"We had stated this last month that we would place in public domain our stand on the issue after our Parliamentary strategy group meeting. Our stand is very clear that we will not tolerate any attempt to attack the federal structure and will oppose any such move," he added.