The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Deal on Delhi state, cracks over circular

New Delhi, Oct. 16: Delhi’s Congress government and the city BJP today publicly claimed that they had reached a consensus on statehood for the national capital territory.

Chief minister Sheila Dikshit and Delhi BJP president Madan Lal Khurana, who were accompanied by their teams at a special meeting, however disagreed over the two recent Central government circulars which, the city government alleged, had curtailed its powers.

“We have resolved that Delhi should be a state with special status with regard to security and financial assistance under Article 371,” Dikshit told reporters after the lengthy discussion.

Special status under Article 371, Khurana clarified, means control over law and order and land ownership would be with the state. However, the Centre would continue to be in charge of the security of VIPs and sensitive installations. States like Nagaland and Andhra Pradesh enjoy similar status under Article 371, Khurana added.

Delhi’s current status is that of a “Union Territory with special powers” enshrined under Article 239 (AA), which lists land and police as Central subjects.

The two parties have decided to have threadbare discussions on statehood and seek the opinion of the public and other parties before Dikshit and Khurana formally take up the issue with deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani.

“We will now request the Central government to introduce a Bill in this regard in the coming winter session of Parliament beginning November,” Khurana said.

Despite their consensus on statehood, Dikshit did not mince words when she told reporters that Khurana did not comment on the controversial circulars during their meeting. “There was no consensus on the controversial circulars leading to confusion,” she said, adding that the powers of her government had been curtailed as a fallout of the two letters issued in August.

Khurana responded, saying: “How could I say anything on it when Advani had already rejected the Delhi government’s demand of taking back the two letters.”

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