After Brexit, CM Kejriwal calls for referendum on Delhi statehood

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 24, 2016 14:29 IST
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said Delhi will soon have a referendum on full statehood. (HT File Photo)

Hours after Britain voted to leave the European Union, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal called for a referendum on statehood for Delhi.

Echoing similar view, AAP leader Ashish Khetan said “after UK’s referendum on EU exit, it’s time to have a referendum on full statehood for Delhi”.

A Union Territory with a legislative assembly that limits the power of the Delhi government, the city-state has a unique status.

Law and order, including police, land and civic bodies are controlled by the Union government, which has led to a raging turf war with the Kejriwal government.

While statehood for Delhi was part of the Aam Aadmi Party manifesto, the BJP that had been raising the issue for years kept mum on it ahead of the February state elections.

“Referendum”, though not in its strictest form, has been a vital part of the AAP’s politics. When the party made its poll debut in Delhi in 2014 and subsequently formed the government with the Congress’ support, it said the decisions were taken after getting people’s go-ahead.

The opposition and critics, however, say the vote is not broad-based as the participants are either party members or supporters and results do not reflect the larger opinion.

In July last year, Kejriwal government had asked the urban development department to come up with a feasibility report specifying a timeline, sources said.

The CM had also asked the urban and legal departments to speed up work on a Delhi statehood bill that will be sent to the Centre for its consent.

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