Even as the Aam Aadmi Party made full statehood its main election plank, Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit Tuesday said the issue holds no relevance in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
Speaking at a press conference that many assumed would be to address the alliance issue, Dikshit instead stressed on Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s announcement of providing minimum Rs 6,000 per month to 20% of India’s poorest.
Asked about the AAP’s statehood push, she said: “At present, we are fighting the national elections and the issue of statehood is not relevant for now. As the Constitution of India does not give much power to Delhi due to the special position it holds, nothing much can be done. The Constitution will have to be changed if full statehood is to be granted to Delhi.” Follow more election news here.
The three-time chief minister said the Congress, too, had taken up the issue of statehood during its regime. “During our tenure, we had picked it up three-four times; AAP is not the only party to raise it. If you are in power, then work it out with the Centre and fulfill the requirements of people of Delhi,” she said.
Addressing a rally at Patparganj on Monday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had promised to build infrastructure equalling “ten Singapores” if full statehood is granted to Delhi.
AAP leader Gopal Rai, too, said: “The issue is gaining traction among people. We are driving home the point that we could have done a lot more, in fact still can, if statehood is granted to Delhi. Our entire campaign is geared towards making this one simple point.”
With no word on the alliance, senior Congress leaders meanwhile claimed Rahul is “expected to announce a decision soon”.
Meanwhile, the Congress state unit, as a part of its campaign, will start aay pe charcha (discussion on income) meetings from April 1.
Referring to Rahul’s announcement from a day earlier, Dikshit said: “This is an extraordinary step which will benefit people below the poverty line. It is the first time that such a step has been taken in the world. We will come back with a bang.”