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Prem Singh wants Statehood Bill passed

By Our Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI, JAN.22. The Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president, Chaudhary Prem Singh, today demanded passage of the long-pending Delhi Statehood Bill during the brief session of Parliament that is likely to be convened in the first week of February. He said the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Central Government should fulfil its promise and get the Bill passed during this session to put an end to the multiplicity of authority and empower the citizens of Delhi and its duly elected Government.

Accusing the Vajpayee Government of adopting delaying tactics on the Statehood issue, Mr. Prem Singh said the Bill is now lying with the Ministry of Home Affairs headed by the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, and the onus was now on the Central Government to take the initiative. If the BJP and its leadership were serious about giving more powers to Delhiiites, then they should not delay the Bill anymore. He feared that if the Bill was not introduced during this brief session, then it would lapse and the whole exercise would have to be undertaken from the scratch. Mr. Prem Singh said the Delhi Government did not enjoy full powers under the present system and it was unable to push things in many sectors for this very reason.

The DPCC president said despite the Delhi Assembly having passed a resolution in this regard, the Union Government had adopted an indifferent approach to the issue. He said both the BJP and Congress had even submitted a consensus document to the Ministry of Home Affairs and had broadly agreed on the powers that should be conferred on the State Government. However, despite doing all the groundwork and submitting all related documents on time, the Central Government was bent upon sabotaging the grant of Statehood to Delhi. He said the Delhi Congress would make the Statehood issue a major election plank in the Lok Sabha polls. He sought an answer from all the seven BJP Members of Parliament as to why they were silent on the issue and were not pressurising their own Government at the Centre for clearing the issue at the earliest.

At the same time, he also urged the Delhi Development Authority and the Union Urban Development Ministry not to dislocate people living in the JJ clusters at Yamuna Pushta as the Lok Sabha elections were not far away. If these people were displaced at this crucial time, then they would be deprived of the right to cast their ballot during the Parliamentary polls. He warned that the DPCC would be forced to launch an agitation if the demolitions are not stopped.

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