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Delhi gets ready for Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

The oath-taking ceremony will be held at the Ramlila Maidan.

Written by Dipankar Ghose | New Delhi | December 23, 2013 10:12:19 pm

Just a little over a year after it was formed,the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday staked claim to form the government in Delhi with Arvind Kejriwal as the Chief Minister. The decision was taken at a meeting of the party’s political affairs committee (PAC),after which Kejriwal met Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung.

Emerging from Jung’s office at 1 pm,Kejriwal said,“I have given the L-G our letter staking claim to form the government.

He will now speak to the President. The oath-taking ceremony will be held at the Ramlila Maidan.”

This ends 15 days of political deadlock,after the Delhi Assembly elections saw a hung house. While the BJP emerged as the single largest party with 32 seats,it still fell short of a majority in the 70-member house. The AAP made a spectacular debut with 28 seats,while the Congress was reduced to just eight seats,

While the BJP declined to form a minority government,the Congress had written to Jung saying that it would provide outside support to the AAP. The AAP,which first said it “did not have the mandate” to form the government,later decided to seek a public “referendum” on the issue. The results,said party officials,were overwhelmingly in favour of forming the government.

The party,however,was quick to clarify that no alliances have been discussed. “This is not a government with support. We have no need to speak to the Congress or BJP since there is no question of an alliance. This is only a government which has 28 seats in the Assembly. If ever the Assembly feels this is not adequate,we will not be the government anymore and the people will judge. It could last one day or five years,if our policies are unopposed,” said senior AAP leader Yogendra Yadav.

“On December 14,the L-G had called me for discussions with regard to government formation. I had then asked for time so I could consult with the people of Delhi. Since the people of Delhi have told us to form government,I am going to give the letter to him that we will form government,” said Kejriwal earlier in the day.

The AAP said it had received a total of 6.97 lakh responses to their referendum. “For Delhi,there were 5.23 lakh unique reponses on messages and phones,of which 2.65 lakh were valid responses from within Delhi. Of this,1.97 lakh people favoured the AAP forming the government. Additionally,257 of the 280 jan sabhas held in the city wanted the AAP to form the government as well,” said party leader Manish Sisodia.

Meanwhile,three-time Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit clarified that the Congress’s support to the AAP was not unconditional. “Our party’s support is not unconditional but rather performance based,” she said.

The BJP said the government would not last long. “An AAP-Congress government is a contradiction in itself,like saying liberal-Taliban. How can a party which professed to cleanse Indian politics form an alliance with the most corrupt political party in the world?” said party leader Harsh Vardhan.

Party sources said the priority would be to deliver on its promises on providing 700 litres of free water per household,reducing electricity tariffs and auditing discoms,and passing the Jan Lokpal Bill.

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