Give statehood and we’ll vote for BJP: Delhi CM

NEW DELHI: Before the Delhi Assembly a demanding for the city-state on Monday, chief minister Arvind criticised both BJP and Congress for using the statehood issue only to . “I want to tell BJP that if Delhi is granted statehood before the 2019 general elections, we will make sure that each and every vote from the capital goes in their favour; we will campaign for them,” Kejriwal said in the Assembly. “If you don‘t grant statehood, then every Delhi resident will put up signboards saying, ‘BJP leave Delhi’.”

On the third day of the special session of the house, Kejriwal slammed the central government for “depriving it of its basic rights”. This, he said, has adversely affected the development of the city. “BJP and Congress promised to grant full statehood to Delhi, but have turned their backs on Delhi’s people. I want to ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi, what happened to the promise of full statehood that you made before the assembly elections?” Kejriwal asked.

Kejriwal, who joined the three-day discussions only on Monday, also attacked lieutenant governor Anil Baijal and his predecessor Najeeb Jung. Calling them “agents” of the central government, the CM jibed, “Delhi has been ruled by Akbar, Aurangzeb, Bahadur Shah Zafar and the British. Since 2013-2016, it has been ruled by maharaj Najeeb Jung and maharaj Anil Baijal. We were elected by the people but the power lies in the hand of the LG appointed by the Centre.”

Attacking Baijal, Kejriwal charged him with creating hurdles for the installation of the CCTV cameras across the city. The LG had similarly negated the “3-4 proposals the government had brought to develop colleges” and the scheme to regularise unauthorised colonies. “Every step for development that we take is always opposed by the LG,” alleged Kejriwal. “The bigger question here is, who rules Delhi? LG or the people? It‘s time for people to fight their own battle. It‘s time Delhi got the status of full state.”

Saying that the Aam Aadmi Party would run a ‘LG, Delhi chhodo‘ campaign, Kejriwal claimed that if Delhi was accorded full statehood, every family would be assured of a house and employment. The CM noted, “Chhattisgarh generates Rs 5,400 crore in taxes and get Rs 26,000 crore in return from the Centre. Gujarat generates Rs 47,000 crore and gets Rs 28,000 crore. But Delhi, which generates Rs 1.3 lakh crore in tax revenue receives only Rs 325 crore. If we start getting a sum comparable to other states, we will build houses for every family living in Delhi within five years.”

Leader of the Opposition Vijender Gupta and MLA M S Sirsa were ordered to be marshalled out of the House by the speaker before the discussions began. The BJP MLAs sat in protest outside the CM’s office at Vidhan Sabha after being evicted. “The AAP government is trying to divert public attention from issues plaguing the city,” accused Gupta. “Why have none of AAP’s MPs raised the statehood issue in Parliament?”

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