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Full statehood for Delhi is first demand from new PM: Harsh Vardhan

LiveMint logoLiveMint 25-05-2014 PTI

New Delhi: The Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Harsh Vardhan on Sunday said the first issue he will take up for the city with the new Prime Minister would be grant of full statehood to the national capital as it would help overcoming the problem of multiplicity of authorities.

Vardhan, who was BJP’s chief ministerial nominee in the assembly polls, felt a lot of hurdles for ensuring overall development of the city will automatically get resolved if Delhi was given full statehood. “The first issue we will take up with Narendra Modiji as Prime Minister will be to grant full-statehood for Delhi,” Vardhan told PTI.

In the campaign for Lok Sabha polls, BJP had promised to declare Delhi a full state if the party came to power, noting that it will help ensure proper coordination between various agencies.

BJP had swept the Lok Sabha polls in Delhi winning all seven seats with huge margins ranging from over one lakh to 2. 6 lakh votes. “The NDA (National Democratic Alliance) government had brought a bill to grant statehood to Delhi and it was tabled in Parliament,” he said. The bill was referred to a Parliamentary Committee following reservations by Congress.

Vardhan said after the NDA was out of power, the Bill was never taken up by the United Progressive Alliance government. Exuding confidence that the Government under Modi will be able to address various issues faced by Delhi-ites, Vardhan said the Delhi BJP will apprise the new dispensation about key problems facing the city. “We will also take up with Modiji various key issues concerning Delhi. We will be pressing for resolving issues relating to the Delhi Master Plan 2021. We will take up issues relating to the three municipal corporation,” said Vardhan.

Identifying water scarcity in Delhi as a major issue, he said Delhi BJP will also seek appropriate solution to the problem. “Water problem is a major issue for Delhi and we will definitely try to resolve it,“ Vardhan said. The current average demand for potable water in Delhi is around 1,100 mgd (million gallons per day) and the Delhi Jal Board supplies around 800 mgd water across the city after treating raw water in its treatment plants. The demand is projected to touch around 1,400 mgd by the end of the 12th Five-Year Plan in 2017. Delhi relies heavily on neighbouring states such as Haryana and Uttar Pradesh for the supply of raw water.

Vardhan also favoured reform in Delhi Development Authority and said certain issues relating to day-to-day functioning of the three municipal corporations needed to be addressed. The erstwhile Municipal Corporation was trifurcated by then Sheila Dikshit government in 2012 notwithstanding stiff opposition from BJP. “There was a need to focus on issues relating to urban development as well.

“I am confident that the new government under Modiji’s leadership will be able to fulfil aspirations of people of Delhi,” Vardhan said. Asked about political scenario in Delhi, Vardhan said the party was ready for assembly election and BJP’s vote share in Lok Sabha polls in the city had jumped to 46.1% from 33.07% in the assembly polls. Central rule was imposed in Delhi on 17 February and the legislative assembly was kept in suspended animation after the Aam Aadmi Party government had resigned.

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