New Delhii : The Congress promises to grant full statehood to Puducherry — a union territory which is situated geographically within the terrirotrial boundaries of Tamil Nadu — if it is voted to power. The party has inserted this politically significant promise in its manifesto for 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The politically significant move seems clearly aimed at giving a boost to the Congress’ prospects in Tamil Nadu, where the party has been completely marginalised after initially being in power during the 1960s.
Party sources said that there was no discussion over promising statehood to Delhi, as nowhere in the world a nation’s capital city is part of a state.
Also diplomatically as well as logistically it is not possible to grant full statehood to Delhi, sources added.
They further said that the promise has also been included to ‘remind’ people that it was the Congress which had given the nation the 29th state of Telangana, and now if voted to power it would grant full statehood to Puducherry.
According to the party’s manifesto, which is under preparation and is likely to be released by the end of this month, the Congress has tactically placed the promise of granting full statehood to Puducherry, as the V. Narayanasamy government there too has been seeking the status for the past few months and in February, the chief minister along with this Cabinet colleagues had even held a dharna in front of Raj Nivas over the issue.
The Congress-led government in the union territory has been seeking full statehood to counter, what it has been alleging the ‘negative stand’ of Lieutinant Governor Kiran Bedi towards various proposals of the territorial government.
With the union territory geographically situated within the boundaries of Tamil Nadu, if it gets statehood, then it could give a lot of leg space to the Congress as it has a strong presence there, and the party is hoping that in the long run this would even improve its political prospects in Tamil Nadu also. Mr Narayanasamy, his cabinet colleagues and MLAs of both Congress and DMK (with which it is in alliance in Puducherry) had staged a dharna against Ms Bedi in front of Raj Nivas in February, over the demand.
Even Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had shown solidarity with Mr Narayanasamy over the issue, as he too has been seeking statehood for Delhi.