March 14, 2019 1:51:15 am
Ahead of the general elections, the AAP Wednesday raised the pitch on statehood further, with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia attacking the BJP both online and offline.
At the AAP headquarters, Kejriwal, Sisodia and AAP Delhi convenor Gopal Rai set on fire the BJP’s Delhi-specific manifesto for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, in which the party had promised statehood.
Addressing party workers on the lawns of the AAP headquarters, Kejriwal lashed out at Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari over his comments that the Delhi CM’s dharna outside Rail Bhavan in 2014 was among reasons to junk the idea of granting statehood to Delhi.
“If a chief minister is going to stop the Prime Minister, the President and foreign dignitaries from going about their work, how will the country function? Statehood won’t be on our manifesto anymore,” Tiwari had told The Indian Express.
Latching on to his remarks, Kejriwal said: “Who are you (Tiwari) to give Delhi full statehood? Tumhare baap ki Dilli hai (Does Delhi belong to your father)? Don’t force the people of Delhi. They will snatch statehood from you.”
Tiwari hit back, saying: “Your mammoth failure as CM is hitting hard on your face. Delhi understands your frustration and this is why you are shamelessly attacking my late father, who took immense pride in his poverty and was a far bigger nationalist, unlike you.”
On Twitter, Sisodia sparred with Delhi BJP spokesperson Harish Khurana.
Khurana claimed the AAP was trying to deceive people of Delhi by raking up the issue just before the polls to hide its failures on governance, at least in areas that come under the elected government.
Sisodia responded that Khurana should come straight to the point and respond why the BJP has turned its back on its statehood promise, which was used during electioneering by the Prime Minister.
“Former Delhi CM Madan Lal Khurana had famously said his status was worse than a peon’s, and his son is speaking against him merely for a Lok Sabha ticket. Today, the former CM’s soul must be crying over this betrayal,” Kejriwal later said in his speech.
He also asked the BJP to “desist from playing politics over the ashes of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee”, under whose leadership the first NDA government had introduced the Delhi Statehood Bill in 2003 in the Lok Sabha.
“Is desh main Bhagat Singh ne, Sukhdev ne, Rajguru ne, Ashfaqullah Khan ne apni kurbani de ke Bharat ko azadi dilayi thi, Babasaheb Ambedkar ne ‘ek aadmi ek vote’ ka adhikar diya tha, Babasaheb ki Constitution humein azadi deti hai, jantantra deti hai. Manoj Tiwari ke pitaji ne kurbani nahi di thi, Narendra Modi ke pitaji ne kurbani nahi di thi,” he said.
“Delhi won’t get full statehood without sacrifices, relentless struggle and movements. Tiwari says CM sat on a dharna outside Rail Bhavan, so Delhi cannot be granted statehood. We got 67 seats because people liked my dharna. In the last few years, Mamata Banerjee sat on dharna, Modi sat on dharna over Narmada water share for two days, Chandrababu Naidu and Nitish Kumar did (the same), demanding special status for their states — will those states be declared half states as well?” Kejriwal said.
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