A day after newly appointed BJP state chief Manoj Tiwari and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal traded barbs on social media on the issue of full statehood for Delhi, the AAP kept up its attack on Tiwari.
In a TV show, Tiwari had said that “a detailed study should be done on full statehood” for the capital. In response, Kejriwal on Sunday tweeted, “This is an insult to residents of Delhi. BJP is denying residents of Delhi their right to full statehood and wants them to remain second class citizens in their own country.”
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Tiwari responded: “First listen to the full statement. Tomorrow, I will send the full video.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, Tiwari elaborated, “I was on a TV show when a question on full statehood was put to me. I said it is a complex issue and a detailed study needs to be carried out. I have neither opposed nor supported full statehood. The issue must be debated. The Delhi CM spoke too soon… He should be mindful of the dignity of the CM’s post.”
He added, “The AAP seems to be disturbed with my appointment as BJP state chief. But this is just the beginning. Today, I went to a Dalit basti without any cameras following me. I shared a meal with a Dalit family and an old woman gave me her gullak (piggy bank) as her contribution. She said she has been miserable and asked me to use it to oust Kejriwal. People are suffering. I will break open the gullak tomorrow in front of the media… I will soon start a reality check on the government’s delivery of its 70 promises.”
But AAP refused to back down, with its Delhi unit convenor Dilip Pandey saying, “Considering Tiwari understands the complexity of the issue, let us put the question of whether full statehood should be granted or not to vote in municipal polls next year. A positive vote for AAP would mean a vote in favour of full statehood and a vote for BJP would mean the electorate dismisses the need for full statehood.”
“Why is the BJP opposing full statehood now when they were advocating it earlier? It is important for Delhi to have full statehood… there is always an ambiguity over accountability of government agencies. For instance, when dengue and chikungunya were spreading, though the Delhi government was fully prepared, the BJP-ruled municipal corporations shifted their responsibility on to the Delhi government and refused to take charge,” he said.