New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has said the lack of statehood for Delhi was behind the stalling of the Jan Lokpal Bill as the ombudsman would have been appointed long before if Delhi had full statehood.
Responding to a News18 article titled ‘Delhi Statehood Demand: CM Arvind Kejriwal Wants to Have the Cake and Eat It Too’ (link), the AAP also said anti-incumbency was not an issue for the party as it could be “easily taken care of by the sheer amount of work done by AAP in most spheres touching the lives of people and more so the poor, needy and deserving among them”.
“Be it education, health, door-step-delivery-of-services, development and welfare-related work, the efforts of AAP Government in Delhi have widely been appreciated not just back home but from across the world. People have been coming from abroad to get a hang of the work done in Delhi to possibly learn from the model created by AAP in Delhi. They have shown an urge to replicate it for cities in underdeveloped, or not so developed, countries,” the party said.
The party added that its accomplishments were despite the “roadblocks put on the way of Delhi Government”. “The Centre never liked AAP government to succeed, leaving it to struggle for even small bits of work and clearance of even small projects. So much so that an elected Chief Minister enjoying people’s massive mandate was forced to take to a hunger strike alongwith all his cabinet ministers for as long as 10 days at the house of Lieutenant Governor.”
It added, “AAP MLAs had to sit in on long protests to get files of Mohalla, or neighbourhood, clinics cleared. These clinics got commendations from across the world. Yet, nearer home no efforts were spared to nip them in the bud. No less than a world leader like former Secretary-General of UN Kofi Annan had endorsed the string of health facility created by AAP Government.”
“In the field of education it is known to one and all that Delhi has lakhs of students who clear class 12, or secondary school, examination every year. Yet, the urgent need to open more colleges and universities to ensure admission for them remains unfulfilled mainly because of the Central Government’s apathy. AAP Government’s work in reforming school education to improve quality of learning awaits to be taken forward to higher education amid federal Government’s indifference. The elected Government of Delhi does not have powers to open more colleges or universities.”
The party said there were over two lakh jobs lying vacant in the Delhi Government, fuelling unemployment and despair among youth. “Yet, Delhi Government is not being allowed to fill the vacancies. Then there is the issue of law and order. Delhi is known as crime capital of the country. And yet Delhi Chief Minister has no powers to improve the security and safety of the citizens of the Capital through Delhi Police since police come under the Union Government, or its Ministry of Home Affairs to be more precise.”
Refuting contentions that Delhi did not have sufficient funds, the AAP said, “The Capital city is able to cater to over 95 percent of its financial demands internally through taxes, without depending on any external agency. In fact, Delhi gives a whopping Rs 1.25 lakh crore in taxes to the Centre. Yet, the Delhi government gets back a paltry allocation of Rs 325 crore from the Centre in the Union Budget.”
“What else is needed as a proof of the raw deal that Delhi has been getting through past decades? And can there be a way out without Delhi being made a State? These questions have become all the more urgent because of the way the Government of the city and the residents of the Capital are being treated for past five years or so. The upcoming Lok Sabha polls will, indeed, give an opportunity to the people of Delhi to decide the fate of the city that has been languishing simply because four years ago the BJP was comprehensively rejected by them despite having its Government at the Centre.”