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Union territories seek self-rule

New Delhi, April 29: Administrators of Union territories are as dictatorial as Pakistan’s military ruler Pervez Musharraf, claimed a Dadra and Nagar Haveli legislator as he appealed to L.K. Advani to grant the territories some kind of self-rule.

Addressing the deputy Prime Minister in the Lok Sabha today, Mohan Delkar asserted that people living in Union territories —Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands —were denied the fundamental right to self-rule as enshrined in the Constitution.

Demanding that each Union territory should have its own legislative Assembly, Delkar said the Centre-appointed administrator was as good as a dictator as he wielded more power than the chief minister of a state.

“He is the chief minister, Governor and bureaucrat, all rolled into one,” Delkar said. And what is the difference between Musharraf and them' “None,” he said, “both are dictators.”

Delkar — supported by rebel Rashtriya Janata Dal MPs Sukhdev Paswan and Mohammad Anwarul Haque and rebel Kerala Congress legislator P.C. Thomas — was speaking on a call attention motion seeking representative government for Union territories.

Advani made no commitment about taking steps to establish representative governments in the Union territories as had been done in Pondicherry. But he offered to hold a detailed parliamentary discussion on the issue.

He said the two-tier panchayati raj system was working “satisfactorily” in Daman and Diu as well as Dadra and Nagar Haveli. As per the 73rd Constitutional Amendment, 29 subjects listed in the 11th Schedule — dealing with economic development and social justice — had been transferred to the local self-government institutions, he added.

Delkar and Thomas were, however, not convinced. They said 29 subjects were transferred on paper, but the administrators had allowed local bodies to exercise power over four subjects only. All Advani said was he would look into their grievances.

The discussion pushed Chandigarh MP Pawan Bansal to join the chorus. He wanted to make a similar demand for Chandigarh, but Speaker Manohar Joshi did not allow further discussion.

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