Referendum on Delhi statehood a gimmick: Congress

New Delhi :┬áThe ruling Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) demand for a referendum on full statehood for Delhi is “unconstitutional” and a “political gimmick”, the Congress said on Wednesday.

“A referendum on statehood to Delhi, as proposed by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, is not only unconstitutional but also anti-national. It is nothing but a political gimmick,” said spokesperson Sharmistha Mukherjee.

She accused Kejriwal of raising various issues to cause conflict with the central government.

“Kejriwal purposely raises issues that cause conflict with the centre and distract from his failures,” she said.

“It is another attempt by the AAP government to open up a confrontational front against the BJP-led central government so that it can blame the centre for its own follies and failures,” she said.

Mukherjee said the Congress was not against “statehood for Delhi” but it should be within the ambit of the constitution.

“Before the AAP government raises the issue, it should have detailed discussions with various stakeholders to understand the constitutional implications as Delhi is not yet another state of the country but the national capital.

“No doubt statehood will give more teeth to Delhi but it will also mean more expenses. Currently, Delhi Police, its university and Metro are taken care of by the central government.

“We are not against statehood but it should be feasible and within the ambit of the constitution,” she added.