In 90-minute budget speech, Manish Sisodia dedicates 10 minutes to demand full statehood for Delhi
The demand for full statehood dominated the Delhi government’s budget session for the fourth consecutive day on Tuesday. While presenting the budget for 2019-20, Delhi finance minister Manish Sisodia listed out governance-related issues faced by people while reiterating his party’s commitment to get full statehood for Delhi.
In his 90-minute budget speech, Sisodia dedicated 10 minutes to the issue of statehood and how the lack of it is impacting the residents. Sisodia, who is also the deputy CM, trained guns on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and accused the central government of posing hurdles in the functioning of the government.
He said issues related to land, civic bodies, services etc., should be under the state government. “If a person in Gurugram has a problem, he/she can go to the MLA or the government. But if a person in Vasant Kunj has a problem, whom should (s)he go to? Should (s)he go to the Prime Minister (for his problem)? The PM doesn’t give time to the chief minister, how can a Delhi resident approach him?” Sisodia said.
In the past few days, the AAP has revived the issue of full statehood—one of the poll promises of the party during the 2015 assembly polls—and has stepped up the attack on Central government.
On Tuesday, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and all MLAs wore the white cap with ‘Mujhe chahiye purna swaraj’ written on it. While the party had chalked out the plan for an indefinite hunger strike from March 1 to push their demand for full statehood, Kejriwal later decided to postpone the strike in view of the prevailing India-Pakistan situation.
With Lok Sabha elections around the corner, the party plans to take the issue once again to the people of Delhi.
With land under central government’s control, Sisodia said the government is unable provide land for schools, hospitals and bus depots. “If the land was with us, we would provide the land for basic infrastructure,” he said.
He said corruption has increased in the city ever since the anti-corruption branch was taken away from the Delhi government in 2015. “When the ACB and transfer and postings were with us, we had managed to curb corruption. There was a 30%-50% increase in tax collection during the period between April-June in 2015 when these were with us. But after that, tax collection has dropped,” Sisodia said.
Vijender Gupta, leader of the opposition in the Assembly, said, “It is election time and that is why they are raking up the issue (full statehood). What were they doing for four years?”