Why BJP must avoid shadow boxing and cooperate with AAP on Delhi statehood issue

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In his maiden meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Delhi's Chief Minister-designate and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal has put forth his demand of granting full statehood to Delhi. The issue of full statehood for Delhi was one of the burning topics on which political parties wooed Delhi voters.

Why BJP must grant Delhi full statehood
The BJP-led NDA government at Centre, however, hasn't yet opened its card over granting full statehood to the national capital. Thus, it will be interesting to see whether it agrees to the new dispensation's demand or backtracks from its own promise of granting full statehood to Delhi.

The Delhi election result shows there is a widespread discontent amongst people of Delhi regarding Central government and the BJP. It was the negative sentiment which alienated voters from the party.

AAP's stand over full statehood for Delhi

AAP says it is committed to the people of Delhi for getting a full statehood status. The party wants full statehood to bring DDA, police and MCD fully under the state government's ambit.

AAP wants full statehood to bring DDA, police and MCD under state's ambit


The party feels that Delhi government should have control over land usage and allocation for its people hence it wants DDA for land and housing issues.

To fix accountability for Delhi's law and order the party wants to bring police under it. Other parties just keep stating full statehood as a poll promise.

According to the party the MCD, which is horribly planned and extremely corrupt, must be brought under the state government's ambit to synchronize utilisation of resources in health and education.

Why Modi Government should grant full statehood to Delhi?

During 2013 December assembly elections and 2014 Lok Sabha polls BJP consistently batted for full statehood for Delhi. But the same was missing from party's vision document for this year's Delhi polls. This gave opposition parties a chance to accuse BJP of retracting from its old promise after coming to power at Centre.

Experts feel that lack of clarity over its policies, along with other reasons, accounted for BJP's drubbing in Delhi. Party's silence over crucial issues like power and water supply, regularisation of unauthorised colonies and Centre's inability to curb corruption in government departments cost BJP dearly.

AAP, on the other side, stuck to its promise of providing full statehood to Delhi, reducing power tariff to half, free water supply and ending corruption in the government departments. These helped AAP bag unprecedented 67 seats in the 70-member Delhi Assembly while reduced the BJP to just 3 from its previous tally of 28 in the last assembly.

Since, BJP has lost Delhi, experts are of the view that the saffron brigade should start course correction and better party's prospects in upcoming state elections in 2015 and 2016. It is an opportune moment for the BJP to start improving its image in the minds of people of Delhi by extending full cooperation in running the new government.

It is high time BJP starts course correction measures

For improving its image, first the Narendra Modi-led NDA government should try to address the core issues like improving the quality of public services such as railways, transport, government hospitals and government schools; end corruption, reduce inflation, etc.

Modi government should try and bring evident change in the country along with Delhi. Taking cue from AAP the Centre government should try to reestablish its connect with the lower strata of the society, which was missing in these polls.

If one takes the example of MCD, which has been under the BJP for the past 15 years, but MCD's quality of services is very poor. Thus, Narendra Modi must take a bold step towards doing a makeover of the MCD, which is allegedly mired in corruption, and hand over its reins to the state government and fix accountability in the civic bodies like MCD and DDA.

If the Centre succeeds in improving the living standards of the people of Delhi, by cooperating well with the AAP government, then the party might convince the people that despite political differences, BJP is committed to the people of the country. All this will help the BJP definitely reap its advantage in other poll bound states.

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