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AAP revives demand for full statehood

THE ASIAN AGE. | MONISH UPADHYAY
Published : Jun 6, 2018, 5:21 am IST
Updated : Jun 6, 2018, 5:21 am IST

Mr Bharadawaj said the demand is not only by AAP alone.

North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC)
 North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC)

New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators are all set to raise their pitch for grant of full statehood status to the national capital in the three-day Delhi Assembly session, beginning on Wednesday. The AAP spokesperson, Saurabh Bharadwaj, told reporters that the problems inherent to Delhi are only because it is not a full state.

Mr Bharadawaj said the demand is not only by AAP alone. The issue is regularly raised by other parties at the Centre and by the Opposition as well. Earlier, the AAP government had, on May 15, 2016, tabled a draft bill for full statehood. It envisaged complete administrative power, including police, law and order and land, to the Delhi government while leaving governance of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) area with the Union government.

Mr Bharadwaj said that the administrative structure of the state, with its multiple agencies and by-laws, make it difficult for the lawmakers to work smoothly. Commenting on the role of former chief minister Sheila Dikshit, he said that during her 15-year-tenure she never took any step to solidify Delhi’s position. While last November she had commented that “had my government not been shackled by the present governance structure, characterised by a multiplicity of agencies and authorities, Delhi would have witnessed better development.”

The spokesperson also attacked BJP for not doing anything on the issue while enjoying a majority at the Centre despite promising statehood in its manifesto during the 2014 elections. BJP has been stern on this issue since 1956. Earlier, senior BJP leader L.K. Advani, during his tenure as deputy Prime Minister, had tabled the state of Delhi Bill, 2003, which would endow the entire National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi with full statehood.

As far as the full statehood issue is concerned, even deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had recently tweeted that the 3-day Assembly session will deliberate upon the contentious issue.

The demand for the full statehood has been pending for the last 22 years, with both BJP and Congress promising statehood for Delhi in their election manifestos. But none have delivered on their promise. Even former BJP chief minister Madan Lal Khurana had demanded full statehood way back in 1994. So did late Saheb Singh Verma, who, as CM in 1988, had drafted a bill on the same issue.

Tags: delhi municipal council, national capital territory