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Full statehood first, says AAP manifesto

AAP ties its development promises to poorna swaraj

By Furquan Ameen in New Delhi
  • Published 25.04.19, 6:15 PM
  • Updated 25.04.19, 6:15 PM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal releases the AAP manifesto with party leaders Manish Sisodia (left), and Gopal Rai (right) on April 25. PTI

The AAP manifesto released today promised 85 per cent seats in each Delhi college for residents of the city, but it had a rider - this promise can be fulfilled only after attaining full statehood.

Even if AAP wins all the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, that will not guarantee full statehood, which is a political battle AAP will have to fight.

But all of AAP's plans for Delhi's future depend on that one thing, according to the document that lists the party's intentions. The manifesto is divided into two columns to emphasise the full statehood demand. One column header says "What we did without Full Statehood", the other says "What we will do after Full Statehood".

On education, AAP said that "students of Delhi Schools securing more than 60% marks in Class 12, shall get guaranteed admission in a college as

regular student". A future AAP government would also reserve "85% of seats... for the residents of Delhi".

“Our kids don’t get admission in Delhi colleges because people from outside Delhi come here and take admissions,” chief minister Arvind Kejriwal lamented while releasing the document. The he quickly added: "We are not against this," in case Purvanchali voters get the impression that AAP is done wooing them. 

AAP wrote about expanding Delhi's mohalla free clinic network, a scheme for which it has earned praise from some sections of the population. The clinics, made with the idea to reach health service to poorer residents and mostly migrant pockets of Delhi, are seen as a general success and could have been an independent election plank. But this scheme's expansion was also tied to the demand of full statehood.  

In its 2015 Delhi election manifesto, AAP had mentioned the demand of full statehood. After four years, Delhi is as it used to be. 

AAP cited four areas of benefit if Delhi becomes a full state - land, police, law and order and government officials.

“Women in Delhi will be safe. Delhi is known as the rape capital in the world. Six-year-old kids are getting raped. Why is it happening? People go to the police but they don’t listen. [Delhi] Police is not answerable to the public. Why?” asked Kejriwal. “Police say we are under the Prime Minister. The PM has no time to monitor the police.”

Deputy chief minister Sisodia, however, talked money. He said the party’s manifesto committee discussed how a lot of work of the Delhi government mandated by the Constitution can’t be done because it isn’t a full state. He also said that from the taxes collected by the Centre, while other states get Rs 8,000-10,000 crore, the Delhi government gets a mere Rs 325 crore even after paying so much tax. “If Delhi becomes a full state, it will start getting Rs 5,000-6,000 crore every year from the central pool to spend on its people,” Sisodia said.

 AAP has also promised recruitment for 2 lakh government jobs in police, education and health departments. 

But for all this to happen, Delhi residents will have to wait for poorna swaraj.