The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday sought more time from Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to convey its decision on the government formation in Delhi and said it would rule the city with support from the Congress or the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) only if the two rival parties accepted its 18-point agenda.
The debutant party showed signs of a change in its attitude towards the Congress and the BJP, whom it earlier called untouchables.
It appeared to be attempting to find a common ground for forming the government. But the rival parties described the AAP’s agenda as a bid to complicate things and an escape route for not forming the government.
After meeting Jung at Raj Niwas at 10:30 am, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal said the Congress and the BJP “are willing to support our government but since there is nothing as unconditional support we want to know if they agree to our common minimum programme which includes support for a Jan Lokpal Bill, full statehood for Delhi, audit of private power distribution companies, independent test of fast-running power meters, free 700 litres water for all and legalising unauthorised colonies within an year.”
The AAP also said it wanted the Congress and the BJP to promise that all MLAs and officials would shun government security, give up official bungalows, not use red beacon lights and agree to the scrapping of the MLA and councillors’ area development funds so that money could directly be given to colony residents for deciding where to spend it.
“We told the Lt Governor that we will get back once we get the replies from the Congress and the BJP on the issues that we want to pursue after forming the government,” said Kejriwal.
“Jung told us to write to him when we are ready with our response,” said Kejriwal to queries by reporters if they had been given 10 days by the Lt Governor to get back to him.
Kejriwal, who was accompanied by party leaders Kumar Vishwas and Manish Sisodia, said on getting replies from the Congress and the BJP on the 18 issues, the AAP would go back to people and ask them through 250 public meetings as to what should be the party’s next action.
The AAP leader circulated letters written by him to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and BJP chief Rajnath Singh seeking their parties’ stand on the key 18 issues.
The AAP leader said his party had earlier maintained that it would not take support from either the Congress or the BJP.
“We are now faced with a situation where both these parties are eager to support our government. I want to remind them that the AAP is not keen to join hands with them as our party was born due to the corrupt politics of both these parties,” Kejriwal said.
Kejriwal said his party was pitted against shrewd parties. “If we do not form the government, these parties will say we are running away from our responsibilities. If we form the government with support from the Congress, the BJP will say we have joined hands with the Congress.”
The BJP responded angrily to the AAP move of setting conditions for the support but the Congress said it would respond to Kejriwal’s letter in the next two days.
BJP leader Balbir Punj said the AAP’s behaviour smacked of arrogance and said the party would avoid falling into the debutant party’s trap to dictate terms.
Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmed said the party would get back to Kejriwal in a day or two. Congress MLA and former Delhi food and supplies minister Haroon Yusuf said, “The AAP has sent the long list only to avoid responsibilities.”