Firing a fresh salvo at the BJP-led central government, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday released a draft bill on granting full statehood to Delhi.If accepted by the Centre, it would bring police, land and bureaucracy under its control. Releasing the bill on the Delhi government website just a day after the MCD by-poll results, the AAP government has sought suggestions from the public on it till June 30 on ‘[email protected]’ and ‘fullstatehood. [email protected]’.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tacitly hitting out at the BJP by quoting from old manifestos of the party between 1993 and 2014, where it had promised full statehood to Delhi, Kejriwal said the BJP has struggled on the issue and have always raised it. “We are just taking their resolve forward by inviting public opinion on this draft,” Kejriwal announced in a press meet.”Through its passage, we seek to fulfill the dreams of Congress and BJP. We should rise above party lines,”he said.The AAP government have had frequent turf wars with the Centre, given Delhi’s complex status. Power wise, the capital has been more of a union territory with an assembly. Most of Delhi’s powers lie with its administrator, which is lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung in this case.The AAP leader also quoted statements made by its leaders including Minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju.”Kiren Rijiju spoke in favour of statehood in 2006. L K Advani had tabled the Delhi Statehood Bill in Parliament in 2003. It was referred to a Standing Committee chaired by Pranab Mukherjee which had backed the suggestions. But for some reason it got lapsed,” Kejriwal said.He added, “Even Congress has spoken out for statehood in the past. VK Malhotra raised the issue in 2011. In its 2013 national executives, BJP reiterated its resolve in this regard. On May 25, 2014 Harsh Vardhan had said that the first issue he would raise with the new Prime Minister would be statehood,” Kejriwal mentioned.He said an all-party meeting will be held on the issue, adding that after June 30, the final version of the draft bill – which keeps the NDMC area out of Delhi’s jurisdiction – would be prepared and a resolution would be passed by the Delhi Assembly in a special session to this effect.”We will forward the resolution to the Centre which in turn will have to bring Constitutional Amendment,” he said, adding that he will write letters and meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president Amit Shah and Congress president Sonia Gandhi to get their support on the issue.Election promiseAs the AAP gears up to fight the Punjab and Goa assembly elections and the MCD polls next year, granting full statehood to the national capital is one of the major electoral promises of AAP. Last year, AAP had planned to hold a referendum on the issue, which was later shelved after experts said anything of that sort would be unconstitutional.
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