Minus some areas, make Delhi a full state: Kejriwal

New Delhi, May 18 (IANS) Delhi must get the status of a full state minus the small areas with the NDMC and Delhi Cantonment Board, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Wednesday.

Kejriwal made the comments while making public a draft for Delhi’s statehood on which he sought people’s comments by June 30 so as to take the process forward.

The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), founded in 1927, presides over the heart of the capital. The Delhi Cantonment Board, born in 1914, looks after the Cantonment area. The rest of Delhi comes under the jurisdiction of the now trifurcated Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).

“All other areas except those that come under NDMC (and Cantonment) should be governed by the elected government of Delhi,” Kejriwal said, and added that he hoped to achieve a consensus over the issue.

The areas of policing, law and order and land in the NDMC and Cantonment areas can be with the central government, he said.

The NDMC area is home to India’s VVIPs including the President and Prime Minister. This is also where the central government is located.

Kejriwal underlined that the demand for full statehood for Delhi had been repeatedly raised by the BJP and Congress.

“All political parties, including the BJP and Congress, have aspired and struggled for statehood. In the last 22 years, both promised statehood for Delhi repeatedly.”

He said that BJP leaders including Madan Lal Khurana, Sahib Singh Verma, L.K. Advani, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, Vijay Goel and Harsh Vardhan had raised the demand at various times.

The Congress too has been agitating for Delhi’s statehood, he added.

“There should be no politics on this issue. This has been a long-pending demand. We are fully confident that everyone will get together and take it forward.”

Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has 67 of the 70 seats in the Delhi assembly, said the assembly would pass a resolution for Delhi’s statehood after building a consensus and send it to the central government.

The central government will need to bring about constitutional amendments to make Delhi a full-fledged state, he said.

Kejriwal and his government have been feuding with the central government since taking power in February 2015 over issues of governance.

Because of the capital’s unique status, police and many other agencies do not report to the Delhi but to the central government.

The draft of “State of Delhi Bill 2016” has been uploaded on the Delhi government’s website seeking suggestions by June 30.

Kejriwal said he would write to or meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and Congress leaders on the issue besides calling an all-party meeting.

–IANS

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