In room number 48 and 49 on the Delhi Assembly premises, a TV screen broadcast the developments of the one-day special Assembly session as around half a dozen journalists walked in and out of the room. Inside the House, former Delhi Minister Kapil Mishra, who had been assigned the two rooms, sat alone in the last row, at least 10 columns away from the seat he usually occupied, among those reserved for Cabinet ministers.
On Monday evening, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal maintained “the truth will emerge victorious. It will begin from the special Delhi Assembly session”. The CM’s message was believed to be about corruption charges levelled by sacked minister Mishra. On Thursday afternoon, as the special Assembly convened, Mishra or his allegations found no mention. “This is an attempt by them to divert attention from the corruption against Arvind Kejriwal and Satyendar Jain… Tomorrow, they will tell people there is a problem in your fingers because they press the wrong button,” Mishra said later.
In the past, the House has seen Mishra attack the BJP-led Centre and spar with Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta over the water tanker scam.
But on Tuesday, Mishra wrote a letter to Kejriwal, seeking his blessings before “fighting the biggest battle of his life”. “While writing this letter, several things and memories come to my mind. Today, I am going to lodge an FIR against you. I have learned how to fight corruption and stand with truth from you…,” the letter read.
Inside the House, though, Mishra remained silent, and also chose not to stand up when Deputy CM Manish Sisodia requested MLAs to give a standing ovation to AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj’s demonstration on “EVM tampering”. Even as the resolution on EVM tampering was being passed, Mishra stayed tight-lipped.
According to Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri, trouble with Mishra began around a month ago when water supply in his constituency was hit, allegedly due to mismanagement by the Delhi Jal Board, which was under Mishra. The issue, Shastri maintained, was one of the primary causes behind AAP’s drubbing in the municipal polls in Dwarka.
“In at least two wards in my constituency, there was no water supply. These areas had faced no water shortage for 20 years. I approached DJB, Mishra and the CM, who had asked me to raise the issue with the Water Minister. But, there was no tangible response or action. How could we have explained it to the people?” Shastri said.
Party sources, however, said things spiralled only last week. Believed to be close to AAP leader Kumar Vishwas, Mishra, source said, had started “approaching other MLAs to level charges against Kejriwal”.
“The move backfired. He was trying to create a division among MLAs, but this incident has united the party,” a source said.