'Delhi Statehood'-Jugular vein for Arvind Kejriwal? All you need to know about the issue

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Aam Aadmi Party's spectacular victory in Delhi assembly election is indeed a great milestone in political history which will create tremor in national politics in coming days. Though, many parties may have defeated Opposition in the past, but the way fledgling party AAP routed giant Modi-led BJP and pushed it to its lowest tally(3), speaks volume about its mettle on political pitch.

Who had imagined that the Saffron party which had registered such a thumping victory just nine months ago will be humiliated to this extent. But, fact of the matter is that voters want to say that political parties can't use them merely as a doormat. If parties really want voters to support them, then they have to establish a cordial relation with them.

Statehood-Achilles heel for Kejriwal?

People want to support a party which understands their plight. Long talk to prove voters beguile may not help party, rather their actions will speak volume about their credibility.

It seems, AAP which received a huge mandate gauged the mood of the people. Unlike BJP, the rookie party tried to give voters a message that AAP is the one who will end your anguish and agonies and only this party will help you in providing a prosperous life by removing all the bottlenecks in between.

But real game will begin for the party now, which has been pampered by the voters in these elections. Party will have to work out of way to make Delhi a better governed State. AAP will have to establish cordial relations with Modi government to achieve all its promises including Delhi statehood issue.

On Thursday, Kejriwal met Modi and discussed various issues including statehood of Delhi . Amid veneer of smiles, both tried to do away old enmity of campaigning days and promised to support each other. But only time will tell how both will resolve Delhi's core issues, including law and order, Jan Lokpal Bill and major other Bills. All these issues can be addressed if both will work in tandem.

Let's discuss the Delhi statehood at length here.

Delhi a union territory

  • Delhi and Puducherry are the two Union Territories of India which have been accorded with partial statehood status.
  • In seventh Schedule of the Constitution, Delhi is defined as National Capital Territory of India or NCT-Delhi.
  • Governments of Delhi and Puducherry both are headed by their respective Chief Ministers and Lieutenant Governors.

History of the contentious issue

  • Reportedly, the issue was first discussed in Constituent Assembly which supported that the national capital should be a Union Territory.
  • Then, in 1953, State Reorganisation Commission was formed to discuss the issue. The Commission also upheld the view of the Constituent Assembly.
  • In 1989, Sarkaria Commission headed by Justice Rajinder Singh Sarkaria recommended that Delhi should be given partial statehood status.
  • On the recommendation of the Commission, in 1993, Constitution was amended and Delhi was given partial statehood status where law and order and land were kept under the control of Delhi's LG.

Where BJP stands now?

  • It is being said that full statehood issue was first raised by BJP in 1993 after party leader Madan Lal Khurana became the Chief Minister.
  • In 2003, BJP in the leadership of the senior leader LK Advani had tabled the State of Delhi Bill, but failed to get it through.
  • In the last assembly election, BJP's CM candidate Harsh Vardhan had openly said that BJP will solve this issue after coming to power.
  • During run up to the Lok Sabha election, Prime Minister also talked a lot on the issue.
  • Recently, BJP maintained lackadaisical approach on the matter. Surprisingly, in the 2015 vision document, party didn't even mention the issue.

The Experts view

  • The experts believe that the idea is not at all feasible. According to them maintaining two power centers will not work.
  • Mathew Vilayasseril, executive director at Centre for Market Research said, "Granting full statehood to Delhi is non sequitur. It is simply not possible to give control of law and order due to security concerns and movement of VIP's".

Congress's position

  • Since State came to existence in 1993, both BJP and Congress are talking big on the issue but doing less on the front.
  • Though party has mentioned it in the manifesto, but it seems real intent is missing as Congress leader Sheila Dikshit ruled the state for three consecutive times, but did nothing in the direction.

It looks like CM designate Arvind Kejriwal who first made this issue hit the headlines in 2013, has tougher task ahead. AAP believes that to provide better safety and security, Delhi police must be within the State jurisdiction.

Party holds the view that they (police) must be held responsible and 'pass the buck' approach will not improve the ground situation in the national capital which is also notorious for crime against women.

It will be interesting to see how Arvind Kejriwal's party will achieve the 'mission statehood.'

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