Divided opinion in Cong on Lt Governor's ID Card proposal

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New Delhi, Jan 5 (UNI) The Delhi Congress is divided in its opinion on the proposal by Lt Governor Tejendra Khanna to make it mandatory for those working or staying in the city to carry with them a proof of their identity.

Asked to react on the statement made by the LG in his press conference yesterday, Delhi Pradesh Congress president Jai Prakash Agarwal today said the proposal was welcome especially from the point of view of maintaining law and order in the Capital city.

In contrast to Mr Agarwal's stance, Congress MP from east Delhi Sandeep Dikshit described the proposal as "impracticable".

''The proposal is totally impracticable,''he told a television channel here.

In a strong reaction to the proposed move to make it mandatory for Delhi's residents and those working here to carry a proof of identity with them every time they step out of their homes, Mr Sandeep Dikshit said, ''talking about myself, I will not carry with me any ID proof after January 15.'' Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, however, refused to comment on the matter saying that she was not fully aware of the orders making it mandatory for the people in the national capital to carry a photo identification (ID) card along with them.

''I am not fully aware of this announcement. I can only comment on it after knowing the details. However, I am sure that any such decision must have been taken by the Lt Governor after giving a careful thought to the matter, ''the Chief Minister told UNI.

In his annual press meet yesterday, Dr Khanna had said,''from January 15 any person in Delhi will be subjected to a random check and that person should carry an identification card as to where he works and what he does. Any kind of identification would do as long as it provides the right information.'' The proposal has been criticised by the BJP and the CPI (M).

The BJP described it as impractical and urged the Centre to issue handy multipurpose IT enabled national identity cards for all citizens in the country.

BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said it was good that the Lt Governor had realised the importance of identity cards in the wake of heightened security scenario in the country.

However, the move was impractical as over 50 per cent people did not have identity cards and he could not expect them to have them in a fortnight. Also, many states did not issue ration cards with photographs, he added.

The Delhi CPI(M) also demanded the immediate withdrawal of the ''draconian'' provision contending that the people of Delhi, especially the poor, daily face harassment and extortion by the police and the order ''further empowers them to continue on this path with impunity.'' ''Lakhs of Delhi residents do not have any identification papers. This is especially true of the city's poor and those working in the unorganised sector. Similarly, there are lakhs who have no ration or voter ID cards,'' a statement from the party's state unit said, claiming that the Lt Governor's 'diktat' would be used to ''bolster the ongoing process of eviction of the poor'' from the national capital.

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