Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal on Monday expressed solidarity with Puducherry chief minister V. Narayanasamy in the protest against lieutenant governor (L-G) Kiran Bedi with the aim of garnering support for full statehood,
Narayanasamy, along with his cabinet ministers and lawmakers from the Congress and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), has been staging a dharna outside the Raj Niwas since 13 February over Bedi’s alleged interference in the running of the government.
Kejriwal demanded statehood for both Union territories. “Visited Puducherry chief minister V. Narayanasami to express solidarity with the people of Puducherry. V. Narayanasami is fighting against the dictatorship of Puducherry’s LG. UT status to Delhi and Puducherry is an injustice to their people. We will fight together for full statehood," he said.
Kejriwal’s visit to the Congress-led state comes just a few days after an alliance between AAP and Congress in Delhi was virtually ruled out.
Both Delhi and Puducherry are Union territories with special powers and have elected governments, but certain functions, such as law and order, come under the purview of the L-G and the central government.
Narayanasamy on Monday denied allegations that the agitation was “politically motivated" and claimed that the “negative attitude of Lt Governor Kiran Bedi" has led to her not approving 39 welfare schemes of his government, including one for free rice distribution, besides other administrative matters.
Separately, the AAP on Monday announced that it will launch a campaign to demand full statehood for Delhi in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. “In a democracy, the people’s court is bigger than any other court. So, we have decided that we will go to the public on this issue and start a campaign at a bigger level demanding full statehood for Delhi," AAP Delhi chief and cabinet minister Gopal Rai said at a press conference.
Following a split verdict on distribution of power between the Delhi government and the Centre last week, the Supreme Court had referred the issue to a larger bench.
PTI contributed to this story.