18-point letter is Kejriwal’s way of escaping responsibility: BJP,Cong

Congress termed it a ‘mockery of democracy’,BJP said it was an attempt to ‘confuse’ people .

Written by Aniruddha Ghosal | New Delhi | Published: December 15, 2013 1:47 am

In the wake of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) writing to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and BJP president Rajnath Singh seeking their stand on 18 key issues,both parties reacted indignantly to the letter. They claimed that AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal was reluctant to form a government in Delhi because he wanted avoid the responsibility of keeping the promises made in his party’s poll manifesto.

While the Congress termed it a ‘mockery of democracy’,the BJP said it was an attempt to ‘confuse’ people .

The Congress had offered unconditional outside support to AAP. The BJP had said they would provide issue-based support. But after meeting with Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung,Arvind Kejriwal sent letters to the BJP and the Congress,seeking their views on 18 key issues before deciding government formation.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has forwarded the letter to AICC general secretary and Delhi in-charge Shakeel Ahmed.

Ahmed said the party will examine the 18 issues raised by the AAP and is “likely to respond within two days”.

Speaking to Newsline,the BJP’s CM candidate Harsh Vardhan said the party’s stand on the issue was clear. “We spoke about constructive opposition. If AAP does not need our support,then there was no reason for us to extend it. With the Congress,the AAP will have the majority and they should know about how a government functions. When Sheila was in power,she used to convene the Cabinet and take decisions. She did not first ask nor expect the Opposition to support her decision.”

Congress legislators Haroon Yusuf,Arvind Singh Lovely and Asif Mohammad Khan also criticised Kejriwal for his “ignorance” on how a government functioned.

Lovely said of the 18 issues raised in the questionnaire,two relating to the Jan Lokpal Bill and full statehood for Delhi,were outside the ambit of the Delhi government.

He stressed on the difference in role of the legislative and the executive. “The other 16 issues are all things that the executive,mainly the chief minister and the cabinet,will deal with. The legislative has no say in it,” he said.

“The Congress has offered them unconditional support. But today’s letter shows that AAP is trying save itself from the burden of keeping the promises it made,” Yusuf said.

He compared the AAP’s rise in Delhi to Janata Dal’s landslide victory in the 1977 general elections and their brief two-year government in the Centre. “Governance is very different from simply winning an election,” he said.

According to Congress sources,Arvinder Singh Lovely also met former chief minister Sheila Dikshit at her residence on Saturday before addressing the media.

Reacting to the AAP questionnaire,BJP spokesperson Harish Kumar Khurana accused Kejriwal of running away from the accountability that comes with being in power.

The BJP noted that all the issues listed in the letter were in the BJP’s manifesto. “We have clarified our stand on all these issues in our manifesto,” Khurana.

“There is no point in sending letter and asking for written approval. Why would we reject our cooperation on issues that we have been struggling to implement over the past 15 years. These 18 questions are just 18 ways to evade responsibility if he (Kejriwal) fails,” Khurana said.

Reacting to both parties’ responses,the AAP spokesperson Manish Sisodia said,“All of this is just tall. We are not shying away,they are. All we have asked them to do is to tell Delhi’s people of their stand. We have said that we will check with the people on what they say. They (parties) should make their convictions clear.”

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