Kejriwal meets Rajnath, seeks full statehood

He will meet Prime Minister Modi tomorrow and invite him for the swearing-in function.

By: Express News Service Written by Vijaita Singh | New Delhi | Updated: February 12, 2015 5:27 am
kejriwal, rajnath singh, aam aadmi party, delhi election results, AAP Arvind Kejriwal, left, with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi (PTI photo)

A DAY after registering a resounding win in the Delhi assembly elections, Chief Minister-designate Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and raised the demand for full statehood for Delhi and control over the Delhi Police.

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“We discussed the topic of statehood as many issues can be solved if Delhi is granted full statehood. Both AAP and BJP had promised it in their election manifestos. As there is a BJP government at the Centre with full majority and an AAP government is being formed in Delhi, there should not be any problem in fulfilling the promise. This will be the best thing for Delhi,” said AAP leader Manish Sisodia, who accompanied Kejriwal to the meeting.

The meeting at Singh’s 17, Ashoka Road residence lasted for about 10 minutes. Singh hugged Kejriwal and assured all help from the Centre but was non-committal on the issue of Delhi Police, which is currently under the Ministry of Home Affairs. “He (Kejriwal) raised the issue of taking over control of Delhi Police, but the minister was non-committal on it,” said a home ministry official.

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Kejriwal extended an invitation to Singh to attend his swearing-in ceremony at the Ramlila Maidan on Saturday.

Earlier in the day, the two AAP leaders also met Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and invited him to the swearing-in ceremony. Naidu told Kejriwal that “his great victory was a god-sent opportunity and it had raised great expectations”.

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Kejriwal raised the same issues of statehood and control over Delhi Police with Naidu, who too was non-committal. At the meeting with Naidu at his office in Nirman Bhavan, which lasted for about 25 minutes, it was Sisodia who did most of the talking as he held the Urban Development portfolio during AAP’s last stint in power.

“They had come well-prepared for the meeting and Sisodia did most of the talking. They raised the issue of full statehood for Delhi towards the end of the meeting. The minister told them that this issue was being discussed for several years now without any consensus emerging on it,” said a senior Urban Development Ministry official.

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After the meeting, Sisodia said, “We have discussed four big issues. Firstly, for issues of the poor, such as compensation for them, we will need central government’s help. Secondly, the issue of unauthorised colonies on which the Centre recently passed a resolution. So in order to take it forward, help will be needed from MCD, DDA and the Centre. We also told him that for more schools, colleges, hospitals and parking, a lot of land will be required so whatever land is available with DDA, we have requested for it. And lastly the issue of full statehood. We have been assured that we will get their support.”

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Naidu said Kejriwal discussed regularisation of unauthorised colonies and other land-related issues. “I congratulated them on the victory and reminded them of the great responsibility on their shoulders. I assured him that the Centre is willing to cooperate with the state but the cooperation will depend on your operation.” He said he would not be able to attend the swearing-in ceremony as he had a prior commitment in Kolkata, while Singh has to go to the Northeast.

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Kejriwal also met President Pranab Mukherjee and thanked him for his “blessings and guidance”. The President gifted Kejriwal two books — ‘Constitution of India’ and ‘Thoughts and Reflections’ — authored by him. Sisodia termed it as a “courtesy visit” and said there was no “special agenda”. “When we were demanding dissolution of the House, there was a lot of cooperation from him,” Sisoda said.

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