Can Statehood for Delhi Solve the LG vs AAP Power Tussle?
(Photo: Erum Gour/The Quint)
  • 1. How Does Delhi Work?
  • 2. What Led to the Friction?
  • 3. The Legal Battle
  • 4. SC Ruling on Delhi's PowerTussle
  • 5. Would Statehood Work for Delhi?
  • 6. How Practical is Statehood for Delhi?
  • 7. Political Doublespeak
  • 8. The Origins of the Demand
Can Statehood for Delhi Solve the LG vs AAP Power Tussle?

The demand of statehood for Delhi has been central to the friction between the Aam Aadmi Party government in the National Capital and the BJP-appointed Lieutenant Governor. In the last five years, the people of Delhi have seen two assembly elections, two Lieutenant Governors and countless tussles for control that have time and again paralysed the city’s administration.

All politicians want it, but no government will allow it.

In the last two decades, both Congress and BJP election manifestos have promised statehood. But each time the two parties had their shot in power, the issue took a backseat, only to be raked up by the opposition around election-time.

But is statehood a political issue? Do Delhiites care about getting statehood? How will their lives be affected? And will it solve their basic problems of bad air, no water and poor security?

  • 1. How Does Delhi Work?

    Post-independence, the States Reorganization Act, 1956 created the Union Territory of Delhi which was governed by a Lieutenant Governor who was answerable to the President of India, who acted on the advice of the Central government.

    In 1966, the Delhi Administration Act brought the Delhi Metropolitan Council into existence. This Delhi Metropolitan Council consisted of 56 elected and five nominated members, headed by the Lieutenant Governor. This Council had no legislative powers and played only an advisory role in the government of Delhi.

    However, in 1991, through the Constitution (69th Amendment) Act, this Advisory Council was replaced by a full-fledged Legislative Assembly and Delhi became a Special Union Territory and came to be known as the National Capital Territory of Delhi. What stayed unchanged, was the role of the Lieutenant Governor who’s appointed by the President on the advise of the Centre.  As a result, Delhi’s elected legislative assembly and its Chief Minister need the approval of the Lieutenant Governor to perform other administrative functions, like transferring bureaucrats, passing laws etc.

    As per the Constitutional provisions, the Delhi Government has no control over the city’s three primary bodies, which fall under the Reserved Subjects list.

    1. The Delhi Development Authority (DDA), responsible for housing, infrastructure and commercial and leisure facilities.
    2. The Delhi Police is designated under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
    3. The trifurcated Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is an autonomous body that provides civic services to the North, South and East divisions of the city. In April 2017, the Bharatiya Janata Party won the highest number of seats in each of the three corporations. This was the BJP’s fourth consecutive victory and it has been running the MCD for twelve years now.

    The Delhi government has complete control over the Pubic Works Department, Delhi Jal Board, Ministry of Power, Health and Sanitation, and Transport and Education.

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