New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Tuesday announced its decision to seek public opinion on whether to form the new government in Delhi with the outside support of the Congress party.
The party has decided to send a detailed questionnaire to 2.5 million people and have asked them to send their response through e-mail or text messages by Sunday, based on which the party will get back to Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung on Monday.
The decision to involve the public on taking a key decision is akin to a referendum, probably the first of its kind in India considering political parties are accused of going back to public only in five years to seek votes.
The decision to seek public opinion came after the Congress party responded to AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal’s letter to the Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi wanting to know the party’s stand on 18-point agenda of AAP. Kejriwal wrote the letter to both the Congress party chief and her Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) counterpart Rajnath Singh on Saturday following meeting with Lt Governor Jung who had invited Kejriwal in his bid to explore possibility of formation of a new government after election of a hung assembly. The AAP with 28 seats had finished second behind BJP which bagged 31 seats in the 70-member assembly.
Congress party’s general secretary in-charge for Delhi, Shakeel Ahmed, on Monday replied to Kejriwal’s letter to Sonia, pointing out that while 16 out of 18 agendas of AAP were executive in nature on which the new government would not require legislative support, the Congress party supports the two other agendas which will require majority support of the assembly, namely setting up Lokpal in Delhi and seeking full statehood for Delhi.
The Congress party had on Friday extended its unconditional outside support to AAP through a letter it sent to Lt Governor Jung ahead of his meeting with Kejriwal, the AAP legislative party leader, and reiterated its support even on Monday.
The Congress party, which lost power in Delhi after 15 years, had won eight seats – just enough to help AAP cross the majority mark in the new Delhi assembly.
AAP’s decision to get back to the Lt Governor on Monday means Delhi is in for its first spell of President’s (central) rule even if for a brief period since the tenure of the outgoing assembly as well as the Sheila Dikshit government, ends Tuesday.
Jung is already understood to have recommended imposition of President’s rule in Delhi and keeping the newly elected assembly in suspended animation. President’s rule can be lifted if AAP agrees to form the government and prove its majority on the floor of the assembly.
“How can we take support of the Congress (party) which looted the country? Why is the BJP, which has cobbled governments in other states, shying away from its responsibility in Delhi are some of the questions for citizens,” Kejriwal said.
BJP had earlier refused to form the government saying it did not have the numbers and has refused to respond to Kejriwal’s letter.
Kejriwal appeared sceptical of the Congress party’s unconditional support, particularly with its track record of propping up minority governments only to pull them down at a time decided by them. “We have been told the Congress (party) will behave till the national elections, so we have six months to rule until they bring down the government which can be on any issue like why Arvind Kejriwal sneezes so much,” Kejriwal said, adding that a section of his party feels even six months can be good enough to do some good for the public and enhance its prospects in case fresh polls are called for to break the existing political deadlock.