Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday reiterated his demand for full statehood for Delhi and asked why the value of vote in Delhi was less compared to other states.
“Why is the value of votes of Delhiites less than those who voted in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh? Why does the Delhi government not have powers like other states?” Kejriwal asked in his Independence Day speech at a packed Chhatrasal Stadium.
Addressing the gathering of mostly students, Kejriwal said the Delhi government’s powers were curbed a few years after independence when it was declared a Union Territory.
He said people in Delhi had a right to choose their government but the power of the elected government was limited.
“People choose their government which had certain powers. But for the last one-and-a-half years, the Delhi government’s every right is being taken away one by one. Now the elected Delhi government has almost no powers (na ke barabar). We cannot take even one independent decision.”
Citing the Government of India 1935 Act under the British rule, Kejriwal said it awarded people the right to elect their representatives, but those elected people have no power to run the government.
“Now, Delhi’s situation is similar to the 1935 Government of India Act,” Kejriwal said.
Kejriwal has been demanding statehood for Delhi for most of his tenure as chief minister, and has had run-ins with the lieutenant governor of Delhi, Najeeb Jung, who holds administrative powers over the national capital region.
Earlier this month, the Delhi high court ruled that the lieutenant governor was the administrative head of Delhi, giving him autonomy, and necessitating that all decisions go through his office.