CM Kejriwal makes draft bill seeking full statehood status for Delhi
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has made a draft bill seeking full statehood status for Delhi
As the debate on Delhi's statehood status heats up, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has made a draft bill seeking full status.
ANI details the situation on Twitter
We have uploaded the draft bill on our website, also welcome suggestions till June 30: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on full statehood status
— ANI (@ANI_news) May 18, 2016
In the draft bill, Kejriwal seeks to bring police, land and bureaucracy under its control, a move that may set stage for another confrontation with the Centre.
At a press conference on Wednesday, the AAP chief said that they have uploaded the draft bill on their website and urged Delhi residents to give their suggestions through 'email@example.com' and 'fullstatehood. firstname.lastname@example.org', which he said will remain activated till 30 June.
An all-party meeting will be held on the issue, Kejriwal said while urging rivals BJP and Congress to "rise above differences" and went on to quote from old manifestos of BJP wherein the party had promised full statehood.
The central government and the AAP dispensation have been at loggerheads over the transfer and postings of officers in the past.
"The BJP has struggled the most on the issue. They have consistently raised it. We are merely taking their resolve forward by inviting public opinion on this draft," Kejriwal told a press conference here, when asked about the AAP's action plan if the draft is rejected by the Centre.
Kejriwal said that he will write letters and also meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP President Amit Shah and Congress President Sonia Gandhi to garner support for the draft bill, which keeps the high-profile NDMC area, out of its jurisdiction.
To buttress his point, Kejriwal quoted from BJP manifestos from 1993 till 2014 and statements made by its leaders including Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju.
"LK Advani had tabled the Delhi Statehood Bill in Parliament in 2003. It was referred to a Standing Committee chaired by Pranab Mukherjee which had backed the suggestions. But for some reason it got lapsed. Even Congress has spoken out for statehood in the past. Kiren Rijiju spoke in favour of statehood in 2006. VK Malhotra raised the issue in 2011. In its 2013 national executives, BJP reiterated its resolve in this regard. On 24 May 2014, Harsh Vardhan had said that the first issue he would raise with the new Prime Minister would be statehood," Kejriwal said.
Kejriwal said after 30 June, the final version of the draft would be prepared and a resolution would be passed by the Delhi Assembly to this effect. "We will forward the resolution to the Centre which in turn will have to bring Constitutional Amendment," he said.
"The draft has been put on the Delhi government's website. Through its passage, we seek to fulfill the dreams of Congress and BJP. We should rise above party lines. A special session of the Assembly may also be called for passing the resolution," the CM said, flanked by his deputy Manish Sisodia.
"The draft primarily says that NDMC area will be with the Centre and the rest should come under the elected government in Delhi. It has been prepared after taking into consideration the older ones," he said.
In the draft bill, the AAP dispensation will ensure that institutions such as the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Delhi Police will be accountable to the elected government of the national capital.
Granting full statehood to the national capital is one of the major electoral promises of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), in the absence of which it has frequently clashed with the BJP-led Centre over matters of jurisdiction since assuming office. In its manifesto, AAP had declared that it will push for full statehood acting within the constitutional framework and using its moral and political authority.
The BJP has had an ambivalent stance on the issue, although the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had introduced a bill in Parliament in 2003 to confer full statehood to Delhi, which was never passed.
Last year, AAP had planned to hold a referendum on the issue, which was later shelved after constitutional experts said anything of that sort would be "unconstitutional".
With inputs from PTI
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