Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said he will mobilise public opinion over the next one year to earn full statehood to the national capital.
He was addressing a function to mark the 25th anniversary of the Delhi Assembly’s first sitting on December 14, 1993.
Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel, in his address, said Delhi’s chief ministers from other political parties over the years had demanded full statehood for the Union Territory.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia echoed their views and said the government has to go to the court if it wants to work for the welfare of its people.
Mr Kejriwal said it’s an insult to Delhi’s citizens that the city does not have full statehood.
“We will go out among people to unite them to raise the demand of full statehood for Delhi. We will also be organising events to celebrate the silver jubilee of the Delhi Assembly’s first sitting. In 1947, the country got independence and people got the right to choose their state governments which have power. But Delhi’s citizens do not have independence. Why this step-motherly treatment for Delhi?” he asked.
He expressed the hope that Delhi would get full statehood in the next five years.
He said the Delhi government under Sheila Dikshit had powers but his government’s powers were “taken away” through a notification issued by the Central government in May 2015.
“In this Assembly, former chief minister Madan Lal Khurana had said, ‘I do not even have the power of a peon’. The chosen government here does not have the power to take decisions for the welfare of the people,” he said.
Mr Kejriwal also hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah.
“The duo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah is dangerous for our country’s present and future. If they are voted to power again, they would not even spare the Constitution of the country. It is the responsibility of every patriotic Indian citizen to ensure that they are defeated. We will do everything to ensure their defeat,” he said on the sidelines of the event.
Mr Goel said in the last two years, no bills have been brought to the Delhi Legislative Assembly.
“Eighteen bills are lying with the Central government. It is really sad that Delhi’s people are deprived of the benefits they would have got had those bills been passed by the central government. In the last two years, no bills have been brought to the Delhi Assembly,” he said.
He said the demand for full statehood for Delhi has resonated in the Delhi Legislative Assembly several times.
He also used the occasion to highlight the fact that the MLAs have been working on salaries that were last hiked in 2011 and he alleged the central government was not bothered about it.
Purushottam Goel, who was a chairman of the Delhi Metropolitan Council, the body that preceded the Assembly, was the chief guest at the event.
“It is wrong that the Central government, through the LG, is trying to run the Delhi government. I can assure you that the BJP is not coming to power in the next five to 10 years,” he said.
Earlier, the Delhi Assembly had adopted a resolution on “full statehood” during a special session. At that time, Kejriwal had said he would campaign for the BJP if the Centre granted full statehood to Delhi.