Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit made a major gaffe on Wednesday when she said that “people from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and other states” were migrating to Delhi in large numbers and straining its resources.
Later in the day, following the furore the remark sparked off, she apologised.
“Every year, thousands of people come from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and other states, and more power, water, roads, etc, are needed for them,” Dikshit said at a foundation-laying ceremony for three flyovers on the outer Ring Road.
Delhi politicians, including some from the Congress, criticised her.
“She should resign immediately. Is she the protector of the people from Bihar and UP who constitute a sizeable population in the city, or their destroyer?” asked Congress MLA Mahabal Mishra, while fellow party MLA Bheesham Sharma said: “This is unfortunate.”
Delhi BJP president Harsh Vardhan called Dikshit’s statement “objectionable, shameful and mischievous”.
Under attack, the chief minister gave in. “If I have made any remark inadvertently, I apologise,” Dikshit said later, noting that she was herself from UP. She said her statement was being “politically twisted”.
According to the Economic Survey of Delhi 2005-06, migrants from UP constituted 40 per cent and those from Bihar 19 per cent of the total migration into Delhi between 1991 and 2001.