The Capital renewed its demand for full statehood, in the Assembly on Thursday, even as chief minister Sheila Dikshit was engaged in an ongoing tussle with the lieutenant governor over the right to fix circle rates in Delhi.
The Assembly unanimously passed the motion for a 'special status statehood' tabled by Mukesh Sharma, a Congress MLA from Uttam Nagar. Diskhit later said that it was difficult for Delhi government to continue work with the "encroachment of authority" by the L-G's office and the Union Home ministry.
"We can't work with irritants and can't work under duress. We need the space to fly," she said in her address in favour of the motion.
The L-G is the constitutional head of the administration in Delhi and issues including land allotment, public order and police come under him. Central agencies like the Delhi Development Authority are also under him.
Recently L-G Tejendra Khanna returned the government’s proposal to revise circle rates of properties without approving them, saying it was he who was authorised to fix the rates. Dikshit has now sought the Centre's intervention to end this impasse.
Sources in the government said the timely move to renew the demand for statehood was a way to influence the Centre on the circle rate issue.
Explaining the various "obstacles" her administration faces due to what she called "dual authority in the state", Dikshit said the present set-up of power could not be successful.
"The noose is tightening every year. We won't be able to discharge responsibilities without proper authority," Dikshit said.
This is the seventh motion for full statehood that Delhi has passed and sent to the Home Ministry for consideration ever since an elected state government came into being in 1993.
Delhi being the national capital region unlike other states, the Dikshit government has demanded "special statehood" by amending article 239 AA, which forms the National Capital Territory in Delhi and appoints the L-G as the administrator.
In special statehood, the government would have full authority on matters of land but nothing to do with security and public order.
"Who will go to get votes from the people? Who is answerable to Delhiites? Not the L-G, not the Union Home Minister. Why, then, should they dictate matters related to the welfare of the people?" Dikshit said.
"We might as well wind up the Assembly if the government has no real power."
Transport and Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely, speaking for the motion, said the government was not able to build more schools and hospitals because the L-G's office took several months to approve land allotment for development projects.