Arvind Kejriwal pays courtesy visit to President, discusses Delhi statehood with Rajnath Singh
A day after recording a landslide electoral victory, Chief Minister-designate Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday got down to business, pitching for full statehood for Delhi and regularisation of unauthorised colonies in separate meetings with Union ministers M Venkaiah Naidu and Rajnath Singh. He also met President Pranab Mukherjee.
New Delhi: A day after recording a landslide electoral victory, Chief Minister-designate Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday got down to business, pitching for full statehood for Delhi and regularisation of unauthorised colonies in separate meetings with Union ministers M Venkaiah Naidu and Rajnath Singh. He also met President Pranab Mukherjee.
Kejriwal, accompanied by senior party leader Manish Sisodia, emphasised the need for granting full statehood to Delhi, saying it will help in ensuring proper coordination among various agencies and end the problem of multiplicity of authorities.
In his meeting with Home Minister Singh, Kejriwal underlined the need for "constructive cooperation" between the Centre and the Delhi government and noted that political differences should not come in way of taking the city forward.
"We want constructive and healthy relationship with centre. Explained to both of them that full statehood for Delhi was necessary to meet people's expectations," Kejriwal tweeted.
He also invited Singh and Urban Development Minister Naidu to his oath-taking ceremony at Ramlila Grounds on February 14.
Strongly favouring granting of full statehood to Delhi, Kejriwal conveyed to the two ministers that it was an assurance given by even BJP in its assembly election manifesto in 2013.
"We discussed the topic of statehood as many issues will find its way if Delhi is granted full statehood. Both AAP and BJP had promised it in their election manifestos.
"As there is a BJP government at the Centre with full majority and an AAP government is being formed in Delhi, there should not be any problem in fulfilling the promise. This will be the best thing for Delhi," Sisodia told reporters after meeting the Home Minister.
Both Home and Urban Development ministries play key role in functioning of Delhi government. While Delhi Police comes under Home Ministry, issues relating to land and building come under UD Ministry.
In the meeting with Naidu, Kejriwal sought regularisation of unauthorised colonies in the city.
Kejriwal also raised issues relating to municipal corporations, Delhi Development Authority and parking.
"A number of issues were discussed. We will need central government's help in those issues which include unauthorised colonies on which the Centre recently passed a resolution," Sisodia said after meeting Naidu.
"We told him that for more schools, colleges, hospitals and parking, a lot of land will be needed. So whatever land is available with DDA, we have requested for it," he said.
Asked whether they raised the issue of bringing Delhi Police under the city government in the meeting with Singh, Sisodia said granting of statehood will address this matter as well.
The BJP in its manifesto for 2013 assembly polls had promised full statehood for Delhi. The party had come out with a vision document for the February 7 assembly polls which did not find any mention of the statehood issue.
In its manifesto, AAP had promised to push for full statehood for Delhi if it came to power.
The NDA government in 2003 had brought a bill to grant full statehood to Delhi and it was tabled in Parliament. The bill was referred to a Parliamentary Committee. But no further attempt was made to grant Delhi full statehood.
The BJP-ruled Delhi government had passed a resolution in Delhi assembly seeking full statehood for Delhi in 1993. The Congress government headed by Sheila Dikshit had also placed resolution in the Delhi assembly twice for grant of full statehood which was passed.
Naidu also congratulated Kejriwal and Sisodia on their victory and also reminded them of the responsibility on their shoulders.
"AAP leaders Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia met me and discussed about regularisation of unauthorised colonies and other land-related issues. I congratulated them on the victory and reminded them of the great responsibility on their shoulders.
"I assured him that the Centre is willing to cooperate with the state and contribute to overall interest of people and development but the cooperation will depend on your operation. As the PM has given us guidance that we have to work as a team, we will help them as per the norms.
"If you perform well, we will extend all our support. There is no question of any political consideration whatsoever," he said.
On Kejriwal's invitation to attend the oath ceremony, Naidu said, "He invited me but I have a prior commitment in Kolkata. I have a municipal commissioners meeting which was fixed a month ago so I expressed my inability, otherwise I would have been happy to attend that," said Naidu.
Later, Kejriwal also met President Pranab Mukherjee and thanked him for his "blessings and guidance".
The President, in turn, gifted Kejriwal two books -- 'Constitution of India' and 'Thoughts and Reflections', authored by him.
Senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia termed it as a "courtesy visit" and said there was no "special agenda".
"We met the President this time. We thanked him for his guidance and blessings. When we had been demanding dissolution of the Delhi Legislative Assembly, there was a lot of cooperation from him... He expressed happiness and gifted Arvindji two books," Sisoda said.