A fortnight after his party’s splendid debut in the Delhi Assembly elections, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal announced his decision to form the next government in the national Capital, ending the political impasse brought about by the fractured December 8 verdict.
The Chief Minister-in-waiting said the Congress would lend outside support to his government. The AAP finished second in the election with 28 seats, eight short of a clear majority in the 70-member House. The BJP got 32 seats, the Congress 8 and others two.
Mr. Kejriwal, who at 44 will be Delhi’s youngest Chief Minister, will be sworn in at Ram Lila Maidan, in keeping with the ‘pro-people’ spirit of his party and the bonhomie witnessed during its election campaign. The AAP’s first-ever stint in power comes in the backdrop of soaring expectations raised by its promise to deliver, clean, efficient and responsive governance.
Addressing the media outside the residence of Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung here on Monday, Mr. Kejriwal, who is also the Legislature Party leader, said he had submitted a letter informing him of the party’s decision to form the government. “The Lieutenant Governor said he would send the proposal to President Pranab Mukherjee,” Mr. Kejriwal pointed out, adding he would move a confidence motion in the Assembly to prove his majority. The date and timing of swearing-in would be decided after formal approval by Mr. Mukherjee.
Earlier, the AAP Political Affairs Committee decided to “abide” by the results of the ‘referendum’, which overwhelmingly favoured the party taking up the responsibility of government formation. “The citizens of Delhi responded through the party’s website, phone calls and text messages. The Jan Sabhas too overwhelmingly favoured government formation by the AAP,” Mr. Kejriwal told reporters at the party office at Kaushambi. Party leaders were categorical about the “nature of relationship” with the Congress. “We have neither an alliance nor any understanding with it, be it formal or informal,” said one of them, Yogendra Yadav.
In the absence of a clear majority, AAP leaders were uncertain about the longevity of the new government. “To fulfil the promises we have made, we will go ahead with government formation. Whether the government runs for a day or for five full years will depend on how much support the party gets now and later,” he added.
Mr. Yadav said the party would try to fulfil the main promises within the next 100 days as after that the Model Code of Conduct might come into force for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Among the biggest challenges would be reducing electricity bills by 50 per cent and conducting an audit of power distribution companies which were accused of overcharging consumers.
How would the party fulfil its promise of passing the Jan Lokpal Bill? Another leader Sanjay Singh said it would get the law passed in the next two weeks. “We are ready with the draft Bill. We are accountable, not to the Congress and the BJP, but to the public. It is up to them to support the Bill. If they do not, they will stand exposed.”