Making a strong pitch for statehood, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday claimed the Centre was chipping away at the elected government’s power through a system which was akin to the national capital being governed by the colonial ‘Government of India Act, 1935’.
Questioning whether the people of Delhi were “less patriotic” and “half citizens”, Kejriwal, in his Independence Day speech at Chhatrasal Stadium, said he cannot fathom why their democratic rights were being “taken away”.
The Chief Minister claimed the citizens of Delhi were being made to feel that the value of their votes were less as compared to other states where electors have the “right to choose governments with powers”.
“Under the Government of India Act 1935, people had right to choose their representatives, but Britishers had powers to run the government. At present, the Centre has established the system of the the Raj-era law in Delhi.
“In Delhi, people can select the Chief Minister, MLAs and form government but they don’t have the power to govern with full rights. Are we half citizens? Despite Delhiites giving taxes, I can’t understand as to why the democratic rights are being taken away from the people of Delhi,” Kejriwal said.
The AAP chief said people of Delhi have been choosing their governments, which had been given some rights, for the last 24 years, “but in the last one-and-a-half years powers are being taken away by one by one”.
He said despite being left with “very less powers”, his government has delivered on several fronts which were being discussed across the globe. The AAP government had released a draft bill on statehood earlier this year.
“People are angry over this. Why the value of a Delhi citizen’s vote is less than citizens of other states like Chhattishgarh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha? In other states, the value of an elector’s votes is 100, but in Delhi, it is 20. Are the people of Delhi less patriotic?” he asked.