Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava
New Delhi: In a move that ended the political deadlock in Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday declared that it will form the government in the national capital with outside support from the Congress, which it had trounced in the December 4 Assembly polls.
Minutes after announcing the decision, AAP leader and chief ministerial candidate Arvind Kejriwal went straight to meet Lt Governor Nazeeb Jung at his official residence and staked claim to form the government.
“I just met the Lt Governor and told him that people here wants AAP to form government in Delhi. Lt Governor told me that he will send his report to President and as soon as he orders it, date for oath ceremony will be fixed,” Kejriwal told reporters.
“Oath will be taken at Ramlila Maidan,“ Kejriwal said.
Ahead of meeting the Lt Governor, AAP announced that it will form the government in Delhi and that its chief Arvind Kejriwal will be the chief minister.
Speaking to reporters, Kejriwal said, “Aam Aadmi Party has decided to stake claim to form the government in Delhi. I am going to meet Lieutenant Governor in this regard to inform him about the party`s decision.”
Kejriwal also told reporters that he wants the swearing-in ceremony to be held at Jantar Mantar if Lieutenant Governor permits.
Minutes ahead of him, Manish Sisodia also said, “AAP will stake claim to form government in Delhi. Arvind Kejriwal will be our Chief Minister.”
“74% people in Delhi favoured AAP forming a government in Delhi, “ Sisodia said adding, “257 out of 280 public meetings have been in favour of AAP forming govt in Delhi.”
The announcement in this regard was made shortly after the AAP`s political affairs committee met to discuss the results of the public referendum on whether or not to take Congress support in forming government in Delhi.
Meanwhile, a training session of AAP`s newly-elected MLAs is also being held at the Constitution Club.
Former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit today extended her good wishes to Kejriwal and expressed hope that AAP will deliver what it promised. Noted social activist Anna Hazare also extended his blessings to Arvind Kejriwal – once his close aide.
Reacting to the development, BJP`s CM candidate Harsh Vardhan said, “AAP`s move to form government with Congress support is compromise of its principles and betrayal of people`s verdict. This has cemented our assertions that AAP is Congress` B team.”
Kejriwal had on Sunday said that “a major announcement” would be made Monday.
As the party’s campaign to elicit a `yes` or `no` from people in the capital on government formation concluded, the AAP said that most voters favoured an AAP government.
“Majority of the feedback we have received is `yes`,” spokesperson Ashwathi Muralidharan told reporters.
The party has got responses from over 6.5 lakh people through SMS, interactive voice response (IVR), Facebook and the AAP web site, she said.
Separately, AAP held public meetings in some 270 municipal wards across Delhi where too most people rooted for an AAP government by raising their hands.
A former Indian Revenue Service officer whose social activism won him the Ramon Magsaysay award, Kejriwal in between indicated that his party was readying to take power with Congress backing.
He flatly denied that the promises made by his party – providing 700 litres of water daily to homes and sharply cutting power tariff among others – were utopian in nature.
“We will deliver whatever assurances we made in our manifesto. It (manifesto) was prepared after wide consultations, and a lot of thought went into it,” he told the media. “Moreover, the people of Delhi are expecting much more from us, and we will perform,” he said.
But AAP leaders earlier made it clear that there would be no alliance with the Congress, which has only eight seats in the 70-member Delhi assembly but which, after being ousted from power, agreed to prop up a government of AAP (28 seats) in order to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) away.
The BJP, which finished as the largest group with 31 seats, decided not to form a government after falling short of the half-way mark by five.
The BJP`s `no` led the Lt. Governor to invite the AAP to try form a government. Kejriwal then said he was in a moral dilemma on whether or not to take power with Congress help.
So he decided to seek the views of the people in the capital, a move which again Sunday came under criticism from the BJP.
The AAP initially said it would prefer to sit in the opposition. It reconsidered its stand after accusations that it had developed cold feet over fulfilling many of its election promises.