New Delhi: In a U-turn on the Bharatiya Janata Party's long-standing demand, the party's newly appointed Delhi unit chief Manoj Tiwari has said Delhi should not be given full statehood.
The actor-turned-politician said conceding the demand to grant full statehood to Delhi could lead to problems for the country's federal structure.
"Just like every state has its capital, similarly, Delhi is the capital of the nation. It cannot be given the status of a separate state," Tiwari said in an interview to TV channel ETV on Friday.
However, Tiwari said Poorvanchal should be made a separate state as "smaller states develop at a faster pace".
The BJP has been demanding full statehood for Delhi for several years.
Veteran BJP leader Kalka Dass pitched for full statehood for Delhi in 1988. When BJP leader Sahib Singh Verma was the Delhi Chief Minister, a draft bill on full statehood was prepared in 1998.
Even the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the BJP manifesto for the 1999 Lok Sabha elections promised full statehood.
In 2003, the Delhi Statehood Bill was presented in Parliament by the then Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, and referred to a standing committee, which had Pranab Mukherjee as its chair.
The new Delhi BJP chief also said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar should join hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"By supporting demonetisation, Nitish Kumar has proved that just like the BJP, he also thinks for public welfare. People want to see Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi together.
"Forgetting the past differences, he should again join hands with the BJP," he said.
Tiwari took a potshot at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying that a person in whom the Delhi people reposed their faith is spending all his time outside Delhi and doing nothing for its people.
Manoj Tiwari was appointed the BJP Delhi unit chief on November 30 in place of Satish Upadhyay.