A precursor to the 2019 Lok Sabha election came forth when Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took part in the HD Kumaraswamy's swearing-in ceremony in Bengaluru on May 23.
A precursor to the 2019 Lok Sabha election came forth when Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took part in the HD Kumaraswamy’s swearing-in ceremony in Bengaluru on May 23. Sharing stage with stalwarts of parties that want to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP, Bengaluru proved to be the perfect platform to showcase opposition unity and a shot in the arm for Kejriwal. With just a year to go for the Lok Sabha polls, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has started preparing the pitch which it thinks will yield favourable dividend in the form of a resounding mandate from the national capital. And the party has stepped into poll mode, as statements by its party leaders suggest.
Reiteration of the party’s pending demand for full statehood for Delhi by senior AAP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia shows just how pivotal the seven Lok Sabha seats in the city are for the party.
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Sisodia has also hit out against Lieutenant Governor and blamed his interference for the party’s failure to live up to its poll promises like Lokpal Bill, Mohalla Clinic project etc. Notably, BJP had bagged 7 out of 7 seats in Delhi in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections before AAP went on an all-out conquest in the 2015 Assembly polls. Again last year BJP managed to retain power in MCDs. So the upcoming election is crucial for both AAP and BJP. Besides, the Arvind Kejriwal-led party knows that only a strong performance in the national capital would ensure its say among the opposition if a big anti-Modi alliance takes shape next year.
Speaking during the Delhi Assembly’s three-day special session yesterday, Sisodia raked up issues like Swaraj Bill, draft policy on regularisation of unauthorised colonies, Delhi Metro fare, Lok Pal Bill and reiterated the dependency of the Delhi government on the Centre due to its Union Territory status. “The value of a Delhi resident’s vote is less than someone who belongs to Ghaziabad or Gurgaon. Unlike Delhi, the government they vote for can work for their welfare… in Delhi the sole objective of the Lt Governor is to create hurdles in the work of the elected government,” Sisodia said. CM Kejriwal was not present in the house but will likely to speak on Friday.
Jan Lok Pal Bill
Sisodia said that the Jan Lokpal Bill could not be passed as Delhi is not a full state. “Had Delhi been a state, the Lokpal Bill would have been created within six months of us coming to power. All the corrupt officers would have been jailed. The Swaraj Bill would have led to the creation of Mohalla Sabhas. Power would have been decentralised. But the L-G put obstacles there…we had plans to open schools of excellence but were not allowed to do so.”
Sisodia claimed that “had Delhi been a full state, the AAP could have fulfilled its promise of setting up 1,000 mohalla clinics by now”. It has been learnt that around 164 clinics are functional as of date.
Delhi metro fare
The fare hike has been a bone of contention between AAP and BJP governments in Delhi and the Centre respectively. “The Delhi Metro is built using the taxes of people of Delhi. But we have no say in deciding its fare. If Delhi was a full state, its fares would not have been raised,” he said.
Regularisation of unauthorised colonies and ration
“The draft policy on regularisation of unauthorised colonies is pending. The proposal to deliver public services and ration to the doorstep of people is pending. The structure is so flawed that the urban development minister is in charge of sewer construction in the city. The country’s home minister is supposed to look into issues like sexual assault in some parts of Delhi when he should be concerned about bigger issues like Naxalism, terrorism,” Sisodia said.
The resolution that was tabled in the Delhi Assembly states: “Keeping in view of the aspirations of people of Delhi for a better quality of life commensurate with their contribution to the economy… Also noting that all the major political parties have supported the idea of full statehood to Delhi in their respective manifesto; This House resolves that National Capital Territory of Delhi should be granted full statehood immediately.”