On June 11, the Delhi assembly accepted a resolution demanding full statehood status for the National Capital. Following this, on the same evening, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, along with his cabinet colleagues launched a sit-in protest at Lieutenant Governor (LG) Anil Baijal’s office demanding the LG to direct all IAS officers to end their ‘undeclared strike’ and to approve the scheme for doorstep rations delivery. Health minister Satyendra Jain and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia are on an indefinite fast in support of these demands. While the protest got intensified with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) members leading a march towards LG’s office on June 13 (today) evening, so far, Baijal has not responded in this regard.
Kejriwal had earlier announced that his party would launch a movement for Delhi’s statehood from June 17.
Since it came to power in 2015, the AAP led government has been accusing the LGs (earlier Najeeb Jung and now Anil Baijal) for not adhering to its advises in the governance of the Union Territory.
In 2016, the government had drafted ‘The State of Delhi Bill, 2016’ and placed it before the public for comments. The bill included features making Delhi Police, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and Municipal Corporations of Delhi accountable to the elected government.
With the recent tussle between the IAS officers and Kejriwal’s cabinet ministers prolonged for over four months now, the AAP government has brought the statehood demand to the forefront, a demand which was earlier promised by Congress and BJP in their election manifestos.
In February this year, Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash had alleged that he was assaulted by two AAP MLAs – Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal at Kejriwal’s residence during a meeting. The two MLAs were arrested and later released. However, since then, the bureaucrats have begun an ‘undeclared strike’ as alleged by the Delhi government, by not attending the meetings called by the ministers, thus affecting administration. The ongoing protest by the AAP leaders have also sought “action” against the IAS officers who have stopped work for “four months”.
Statehood for Delhi
In his speech in the assembly on June 11, Kejriwal claimed that despite Delhi generating Rs 1.3 lakh crore tax to the Centre, it gets only Rs 325 crore back. “If at least 30 per cent is given back, the government can provide housing to every family within five years,” he said.
While alleging that the developmental proposals are being continuously rejected by the BJP appointed LGs, Kejriwal said “The bigger question here is, who rules Delhi? LG or the people? It’s time for people to fight their own battle for statehood”.
The AAP government has been claiming that the lack of control over Law and Order, Municipal services, Land and so on and due to the functioning of multiple jurisdictions with the Capital territory, the development has been hindered and the only way out is full statehood.