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New Delhi: Stressing on its demand for a referendum on full statehood to Delhi, the AAP government on Monday warned it would not shy away from launching an agitation on the issue.

“It is a political issue. And if need be, we will launch an agitation. The AAP government will not sit quietly. No one can stop Delhi from getting statehood,” Delhi Law Minister Kapil Mishra said.

In a cabinet meeting last week, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the priority of the Delhi’s urban development department should be on statehood. He had asked for a referendum on the statehood to Delhi.

“People (in states) have rights over their land and police and the citizens of Delhi should also have these rights. Give to us what you are giving to other,” Mishra added.

“AAP has the political will. It is high time the people in Delhi got the statehood. We will not tolerate a stepmotherly treatment towards the people in Delhi,” the AAP minister said.

“The BJP and the Congress promised full statehood to Delhi. They forgot their promises, but the AAP did not,” he said.

“There will be no legal complications. Only the BJP and the Congress will backtrack from their promises they made (to the people),” Mishra said.

Constitutionally, Delhi is a quasi-state with the Lieutenant Governor as the state head. The LG also has control over law and order and land in the National Capital Territory (NCT).

In the past too, there have been demands from the Aam Aadmi Party for statehood for Delhi but the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the centre has remained unmoved.

“What is the harm in taking opinion from the public. Those who are afraid of taking people’s opinion are themselves ousted by the people,” the minister remarked.

“Proposals stop when there is a lack of political will. L.K. Advani brought a bill in parliament (on the matter in 2003) but he could not get it passed even though his government was then in power at the centre,” he pointed out.

Congress leader Ajay Maken on Monday termed as “unconstitutional and a dangerous ploy with grave fallout” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s idea of conducting referendum on statehood for Delhi. (IANS)


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