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Last Updated : Jun 12, 2018 05:18 PM IST | Source:

Grant statehood to Delhi and I'll make sure all votes go in your favour: Kejriwal to BJP

Kejriwal also said if the party does not do it, then Delhi residents will put up boards saying ‘BJP leave Delhi’

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New Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party chief, Arvind Kejriwal, delivered a shocker in a speech he gave on Monday, where he said he would campaign for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2019 general elections if the party promises to grant Delhi statehood.

“I want to tell the BJP that if, before the 2019 elections, Delhi is granted statehood, we will make sure that each and every vote from Delhi goes in your favour. We will campaign for you. If you do not do it, then Delhi residents will put up boards saying ‘BJP leave Delhi’,” Kejriwal said, as per a Hindustan Times report.

Soon after Kejriwal’s comments, the Delhi Vidhan Sabha accepted the resolution for full statehood of the national capital. This resolution urges the Ministry of Home Affairs to table a Bill, granting Delhi full statehood. This has been a political issue in the city for a long time.

New Delhi is a Union Territory and its administration largely lies with the central government. There have been many riffs between the state government and the Centre over this issue, especially since the Delhi Police and land-related matters are not controlled by the state.

During his speech, Kejriwal pointed out that one of PM Modi’s promises in 2014 was of statehood. The Delhi assembly has done this before in 1988. Under Sahib Singh Verma, a resolution was passed and a draft was sent to the central government.

Kejriwal said Delhi pays Rs 1.3 lakh crore as taxes annually but gets only Rs 325 crore in return. “States like Odisha pay Rs 10,000 crore and get Rs 40,000 crore from the Centre. We urge the Centre to give us at least 30% of what we give,” he said. “Every resident would have a house and a job if Delhi got Rs 40,000 crore from the Centre.”

Calling it “political brinkmanship”, a BJP legislator and leader of opposition in New Delhi, Vijendra Gupta, said Kejriwal is not serious about the issue.

He said, “If he (Kejriwal) was serious, he should have raised it in Parliament through his MPs which is the right forum. But his real intent behind bringing it upon completion of three years and four months is to divert public attention from his misgovernance, incompetence and failures.”

Many members of the opposition showed disapproval of the resolution passed by the assembly, calling it an attempt by the AAP government to hide its failures in its term. Some BJP members even walked out of the assembly.

Some have argued that Delhi should not be given statehood since it may lead to revenue losses and the privileges that citizens enjoy may be taken away. Salaries of police, service employees in the city would be Delhi’s expense if this bill is passed, which at present are borne by the Centre.

On Monday, the AAP chief also staged a sit-in at the governor’s office, accusing Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and central investigation agencies of interference and stalling his government’s functioning.

First Published on Jun 12, 2018 01:01 pm
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