NEW DELHI: After Britain voted to leave the European Union, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called for a referendum on grant of full statehood to the national capital. The chief minister, who has been advocating for referendum in Delhi for full statehood for last one year, tweeted:“After UK referendum, Delhi will soon have a referendum on full statehood.”
Hearing this, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju lashed out at Kejriwal for raking up the idea of a referendum on statehood for Delhi again saying that he has been ‘intoxicated by the Brexit referendum’.
“Is Kejriwal intoxicated by the Brexit referendum? In our country, everything works as per Constitution. And there is no one who is above that,” Rijiju said.
He further noted, “We all are working as per the Constitution. We must not forget that New Delhi is the capital of India. So, everyone should work in his limits and jurisdictions. If he goes beyond the jurisdictions, actions will be taken as per the Constitution,” he added.
Not only Kejriwal, Delhi Dialogue Commission vice chairman Ashish Khaitan and AAP leaders started demanding referendum in Delhi.
“It’s time to have a referendum on full statehood of Delhi Delhi. In a democracy the will of the ppl (people) is supreme,” Khaitan tweeted. He again added that if Delhi gets full statehood, “police, land and municipal corporations and bureaucracy will directly come under the state government”.
Last month, the AAP government had released a draft bill on full statehood for Delhi and invited suggestions from the public till June 30. The government had last year also prepared a ‘concept note’ for carrying out a referendum on statehood to the national Capital. The approach paper said three months time was required to hold referendum after requisite approvals.
Source said that the government intended to carry out the referendum through use of technology with the help of updated electoral rolls in the polling stations. The Delhi government’s revenue department is likely to anchor the referendum process under the overall guidance of the Urban Development (UD) Department. Earlier, the UD Principal Secretary had even been entrusted the overall job, from the concept note to the conclusion, of the referendum.
Despite reservations expressed by experts, the AAP government is said to be keen to hold referendum on statehood and the CM had earlier also sent a note to various departments, asking them to “draft a law and create machinery for” such a practice constitutionally.