Kejriwal reaches out to Venkaiah, Rajnath

A day after the Aam Aadmi Party secured a historic mandate in the Delhi Assembly polls, its chief minister-elect Arvind Kejriwal reached out to senior Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu and Rajnath Singh for support in fulfilling some of its major >poll promises.

Among the issues under discussion were the granting of full statehood to Delhi and the regularisation of unauthorised colonies in the city both of which fall under the domain of the Central government.

The meetings hint at a definite shift in strategy for the Aam Aadmi Party and the way in which they hope to pursue their ambitious agenda for Delhi.

Mr. Kejriwal, during his 49-day stint as Delhi Chief Minister, had taken his confrontation with the Centre over control of the Delhi Police to the streets.

“We want constructive and healthy relationship with Centre,” he tweeted on Wednesday soon after meeting with Mr. Singh. Mr. Modi had also tweeted a message of support to Mr. Kejriwal.

However, despite these efforts at building bridges, Mr. Naidu in particular, appeared guarded while offering support, saying it depended on the performance of the AAP in Delhi.

“I assured him that the Centre is willing to cooperate with the State and contribute to the overall interest of people and development but the cooperation will depend on your operation. If you perform well, we will extend all our support,” Mr. Naidu said.

Mr. Kejriwal, who was accompanied by senior party leader Manish Sisodia also called on President Pranab Mukherjee in the evening.

The meeting with the President was described as a courtesy call by Mr. Sisodia.

“We thanked him for his guidance. Mr. Mukherjee gifted Mr. Kejriwal a couple of books — Constitution of India and Thoughts and Reflections — both authored by him,” said Mr. Sisodia.

Through the course of the day’s meetings Mr. Kejriwal and Mr. Sisodia focused mainly on the controversial issue of full statehood to Delhi. Though it has always been an important electoral issue for the AAP the BJP made no mention of it in its vision document for the recently concluded Assembly election though it had supported the issue in the past.

The AAP leaders tried to present it as a bipartisan cause saying it was an assurance given by even the BJP in its Assembly election manifesto in 2013.

“We discussed full statehood as many issues will be solved if it is granted. Both the AAP and the BJP had promised it in their election manifestos. As there is a BJP government at the Centre with full majority and an AAP government is being formed in Delhi, there should not be any problem in fulfilling the promise,” Mr. Sisodia told reporters after meeting Mr. Singh.

The two AAP leaders had also taken up the issue with Mr. Naidu with whom they also discussed the regularisation of illegal colonies and the possibility of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) granting more land for schools, hospitals and parking lots.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2021 12:06:26 AM |

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