Unable to hold referendum, Delhi govt opts for ‘opinion poll’ on statehood demand


With no provision of referendum in Indian constitution, Delhi government will conduct an “opinion poll” on the issue of full statehood for the national capital and bringing subjects such as police and land under the jurisdiction of the state government, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said today.

Kejriwal, who had earlier spoken of referendum on the issue, said there was no provision for such a vote.

His remarks, according to a PTI report, came in response to a question during his two-hour-long live interactive session ‘Talk to AK’ in which he held forth on a wide range of issues including measures such as the odd-even scheme and promises like free wi-fi.

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“It’s a good idea. We are thinking about it and will surely do it. Few people call it referendum but there is no provision for it in the Constitution. It could be an opinion poll. We will ask the people of Delhi whether land and police should come under the elected government,” Kejriwal said.

Soon after the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, he had tweeted, “After UK referendum, Delhi will soon have a referendum on full statehood.”

On the odd-even road rationing measure, two phases of which have already been implemented, Kejriwal said his government was considering enforcing it again in winters.

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Asked if AAP would deliver on its promise to provide free wi-fi, Kejriwal said, “Rajendra Kumar was looking after it. We have to appoint some other person now. We are laying a fibre optic cable network in Delhi. It will take another two-three years. Meanwhile, we will create a network of hotspots. It will be ready by early next year provided the Lt Governor does not nullify the proposal.”

Replying to a question on the land pooling policy, Kejriwal said it is under consideration and his government has asked the Delhi Development Authority to insert a clause enabling the setting aside of 10 per cent land for infrastructure development.

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The next such interactive session would be held after a month or so, Kejriwal said. He also promised a caller of resolving issues that have apparently arisen out of laying of sewerage line in his area.

“When you are in public life, you have to be ready for public scrutiny. At times, we feel that the media’s questions and people’s questions are different. There was a need for a platform to take questions directly. And you can face the public only when you are ethical and honest,” Kejriwal said in his opening lines.


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