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Kejriwal stakes claim to form govt; LG sends proposal to Prez

New Delhi, Dec 23, 2013 PTI:
: Lt Governor Najeeb Jung with Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal during a meeting at Raj Niwas in New Delhi. PTI file photo

Ending the fortnight-long deadlock, the Aam Aadmi Party today staked claim to form the government in the national capital with outside support from the Congress which it had trounced in the December 4 Assembly polls.

After the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) met this morning and decided to go with the results of the 'referendum' which overwhelmingly favoured the party taking the reins of power, AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal met Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and and handed over him a letter staking claim to form government.

45-year-old Kejriwal, who was the party's face in the elections, will be the new Chief Minister who will be sworn-in at a public event in the Ramlila Maidan, the venue of Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement for a Janlokpal Bill.


He said he would table a confidence motion in the assembly and "let's see what happens". This will be the capital's first minority government.

The date and timing of the swearing-in ceremony would be decided once President Pranab Mukherjee gives his decision, Jung told Kejriwal when he met him.

The Lt Governor told Kejriwal that he would send the proposal of government making to the President for his decision.

After the two-hour-long meeting of the PAC at AAP office in Kausambi nearby Ghaziabad district, Kejriwal said AAP has decided to give a letter to the Lt Governor expressing its readiness to form the government.

"We were called by the Lt Governor to discuss government formation on December 14. We had sought time to take a decision as ours is a party of common people and we want to their views.

"We got responses from the citizens through website, phone calls, SMS and by holding public meetings and most of them favoured government formation by AAP. We are now going to give the letter to LG saying that AAP is ready to form the government," Kejriwal told reporters at AAP's office in Kausambi here.

He said the party held 280 public meetings across Delhi and in 257 such gatherings people favoured formation of government by the party while the rest opined that they it should not take powers.

There has been deadlock over government formation in Delhi for nearly two weeks after the announcement of the results on December 8. AAP has 28 seats while Congress with 8 has agreed to give outside support. BJP is the single largest party with 31 seats in its kitty.

A civil servant-turned-politician, Kejriwal had himself participated in scores of meetings in the last one week to know people's views on government formation.

The debutant party was under pressure to form government after BJP refused to do so and Congress wrote to Delhi Lt Governor about giving unconditional support to AAP to form the government.

Earlier, both Congress and BJP had attacked AAP for refusing to form the government, saying it was shying away from the responsibilities knowing that it cannot fulfil the promises like cutting the power tariff by 50 per cent and providing 700 litres of free water daily to each household in the city.

After the results of the polls were out, AAP had ruled out taking support of any political party to form the government, saying it will play the role of a "constructive opposition".

Asserting that there was no confusion over the Chief Ministerial candidate, Sisodia said Kejriwal has been party's choice for the top post.

"There were rumours about who will be the chief minister. AAP had said earlier that the party would contest election with Arvind Kejriwal as CM candidate. Then in our manifesto also we have reiterated this. After the election results were out, he was elected as the leader of the legislative party. So Arvind Kejriwal will be the Chief Minister," Sisodia said.

To criticism about holding public meetings on the issue, Kejriwal said unlike other parties, AAP wants participation of public on important issues and to bring real democracy. AAP, which made an electrifying debut in the polls, was formally launched on November 26, 2012.

It came into existence following differences between Kejriwal and Hazare regarding whether or not to politicise the popular India Against Corruption(IAC) movement that had been demanding a Jan Lokpal Bill since 2011.

Hazare preferred that the movement should remain apolitical while Kejriwal felt the failure of the agitation route necessitated a direct political involvement.

The AAP has led several protests since its formation. Among these was a campaign against an alleged nexus between government and private corporations relating to price rise for electricity and water in Delhi. Another saw the party

demanding justice for victims of sexual harassment and rape, including the introduction of a stronger anti-rape law.

Hazare and Kejriwal made it known on September 19, 2012 that their differences regarding a role in politics were irreconcilable.

Kejriwal had support from some well-known people involved in the anti-corruption movement, such as Prashant Bhushan and Shanti Bhushan, but was opposed by others such as Kiran Bedi and Santosh Hegde.

On October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Kejriwal announced that he was forming a political party which was formally launched on November 26 coinciding with the anniversary of India's adoption of its constitution in 1949. The party name reflects the phrase Aam Aadmi, or "common man", whose interests Kejriwal proposed to represent.

A party constitution was adopted on November 24, 2012.

The party claims that the common people remain unheard and unseen except when it suits the politicians to consider them. It wants to reverse the way that the accountability of government operates and has taken an interpretation of the Gandhian concept of swaraj as a tenet.

Kejriwal said AAP refuses to be guided by ideologies and that they are entering politics to change the system: "We are aam aadmis. If we find our solution in the left we are happy to borrow it from there. If we find our solution in the right, we are happy to borrow it from there," he was quoted as having said.

The party produced a separate manifesto for each of the 70 constituencies. The candidates were being screened for potential criminal backgrounds and the party claimed to have selected honest candidates.

The AAP's central manifesto had promised to implement the Jan Lokapal Bill within 15 days of coming to power.

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