A three-day special session of the Delhi Assembly is beginning today. (File)
AAP’s Delhi unit chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said whenever a party takes charge at the centre, its opinion changes and it starts avoiding the question of statehood for Delhi.
Discussions on statehood have taken place at the assembly in the past too.
A fresh debate on the topic comes ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, scheduled for next year, and the AAP intends to open its account in the lower house from the national capital.
In 2014, it drew a blank despite its splendid debut in the December 2013 assembly polls.
Attacking the BJP, Mr Bharadwaj said the party claims that it has been fighting for statehood for Delhi for the past 50 years, but has not even given a thought to accord statehood to Delhi in the past four years it has been in power at the centre.
“It is to be noticed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his election campaign repeatedly announced (according) statehood to Delhi. Statehood for Delhi was part of BJP’s election manifesto for Lok Sabha election 2014. Even after formation of the NDA government by PM Modi, BJP had reiterated its stand for statehood,” he said.
He added that every state and its people have certain demands and expectations from the central government, before Lok Sabha elections.
“The people of Delhi have sent seven BJP lawmakers to the Lok Sabha expecting them to fulfil the promise of statehood for Delhi. AAP challenges the seven lawmakers of Delhi to show any discussion on statehood for Delhi initiated by them in parliament,” he added.
He further said that former Delhi Chief Minister Madan Lal Khurana expressed the need for a Delhi state on August 26, 1994. Under the chief ministership of Sahib Singh Verma, a draft bill for full statehood of Delhi was prepared in 1998 and the Delhi statehood bill was presented in parliament in August 2003 as the Delhi State Bill by the then Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani, he said.
“In 2011, V K Malhotra, the leader of the opposition, suggested that BJP has been demanding full statehood for Delhi since 1956. Even the Congress manifesto for Delhi, ahead of 2015 assembly polls, said that Delhi will become a full-fledged state,” Mr Bharadwaj added.