Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said he would start an indefinite hunger strike and the Aam Aadmi Party would launch a “movement” to demand statehood for Delhi on March 1.
Speaking on day three of the Budget session of the Delhi Assembly, Mr. Kejriwal announced in the House that he would go on indefinite hunger strike to push for the status of a full state for Delhi. The Assembly also passed a resolution in support of the demand for statehood, making it the second such resolution in less than a year after a similar resolution was passed on June 11, 2018.
Addressing the House, the Chief Minister said he was ready to give up his life for the cause, terming it the “aar paar ki ladai” or final battle. He said both the BJP and the Congress had promised statehood for Delhi during previous election campaigns, but had forgotten the promise once elected.
Later in the evening, Mr. Kejriwal said in a tweet: “I cannot repay the debt of my Delhi for all that the people here have given me in my life. It will be my proud privilege to lay down my life fighting for Delhiites rights. Delhi deserves full statehood & must get it at all costs (sic).”
The AAP chief’s announcement came at the end of a day of discussion in the Assembly on the issue of powers of the elected government vis-a-vis the Lieutenant-Governor and the Centre.
Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Kejriwal said: “The Prime Minister should deal with Pakistan, which he is not being able to do, and leave Delhi Police and the municipal corporations to the people of Delhi”.
Earlier during the proceedings, which started off with a motion of thanks for L-G Anil Baijal’s address on Friday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the Centre had tried to stall various projects of the AAP government.
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta said the AAP was raising the demand for statehood as the Lok Sabha elections are near and the party used the lack of powers of a full state as an excuse.