Delhi polls: Full statehood demand may take back seat

New Delhi: The demand for full statehood for Delhi has been a major poll plank in the Assembly elections which the national capital has seen, but the political parties seem to be no more keen on raking up the issue as fresh elections approach.

When contacted, leaders of the three top political contenders for the Assembly polls expected in 4 months in Delhi — AAP, BJP and Congress — said they are not planning to raise the issue.

While the ruling Aam Aadmi Party believes that it has done all it can for the statehood movement, the BJP and Congress are staying away from the issue as AAP has used it extensively for the Lok Sabha campaign.

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“During the Lok Sabha elections and even before that, we have done all we could to ensure Delhi becomes a full state. However, we have realised that it is for the Centre to take the call now. Also, there is no point of taking up the issue as the demand for full statehood has been issued numerous times,” a leader from the AAP said demanding anonymity.

Interestingly, while the demand for full statehood was the main election plank of the AAP and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had even announced that he will sit on an indefinite fast demanding full statehood for Delhi, the party has not mentioned anything about full statehood since the Lok Sabha results were announced.

The manifesto of the AAP for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls was also based on full statehood and Kejriwal had raised the same demand in almost all his public meetings and rallies.

The demand for full statehood had also been a poll promise for BJP and Congress.

A Congress leader said the demand for full statehood has been in the party’s manifesto since long. “However, this time, we are focusing on how the BJP and the AAP have disturbed the lives of the common man,” he said.

“The Congress will tell the people how the AAP in Delhi and BJP at the Centre have exploited them. We will also remind the people how Sheila Dikshit has transformed the city under her tenure,” a Congress leader said on the condition of anonymity.

The BJP, too, said the failure of the AAP government will be sufficient for it to campaign against the AAP in the national capital.

“The demand for full statehood was raised by the AAP. People are not interested in making Delhi a full state,” a BJP leader said.

The fight for statehood to Delhi can be traced back to the early 1950s when the state got its first Chief Minister. The lack of power in the hands of Delhi’s Chief Minister was an issue for almost every person who got the chair.

Delhi, at present, is a Union Territory with special status. Unlike other states, matters concerning law and order and land fall in the purview of the Central government. And with the Centre controlled by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government, AAP has claimed numerous times that it faced a lot of issues in running the government.

It is mentioned in Article 239AA of the Constitution that the Lieutenant Governor, appointed by the President, will be the administrator of the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

The Article also states that there will be a Legislative Assembly, whose members will be chosen by direct election from territorial constituencies. The Legislative Assembly of Delhi will have the power to make laws for the whole or any part of the National Capital Territory, apart from Police, Law and order, Land, and Service.

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