The Delhi government will next week make public the draft bill for full statehood of Delhi that it has prepared. Confirming this in a tweet, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said: “Draft bill for statehood of Delhi is ready and will soon be placed in public domain for comments and suggestions from the public.”
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had promised full statehood for Delhi in its election manifesto in 2015 and vowed to “put its strength behind the demand”. Full statehood for Delhi has also been a long-standing demand of both the BJP and Congress.
Vijender Gupta, BJP MLA and Leader of the Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, supported the idea of full statehood for Delhi, but accused the AAP government in Delhi of playing “confrontational politics”. “It is a tactic of the AAP government to divert people’s attention and get into confrontation with the Central government. Delhi is the national capital and the issue of full statehood for Delhi is a matter of Constitutional amendment and needs to be dealt with through proper channels,” Gupta told The Sunday Guardian.
The government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi was created through the 69th Constitutional Amendment in 1991, providing Delhi with a Legislative Assembly. However, issues relating to land and law and order, which are normally a state subject, were kept with the Centre in case of Delhi.
Earlier, former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had told this newspaper that full statehood for Delhi has also been a demand of the Congress since land as a subject is not with the Delhi government, which has to take Central approval for any developmental work, adding that appointments in the Delhi government also need Central approval, causing “hindrance”.