The stage is set for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to form its first government; Arvind Kejriwal will be sworn in as Delhi chief minister (CM) at the Ramlila Maidan on Thursday. Six of his trusted aides will also take oath as cabinet ministers.
But Tuesday saw some hiccups, too. There was talk that the Congress might withdraw support to the AAP. A section of Congress leaders protested outside the party office and burnt Kejriwal’s effigy. At least one member of Kejriwal’s party, too, felt sidelined and threatened to revolt when he found his name missing from the list of cabinet ministers. Vinod Binny — who defeated Congress’s cabinet minister AK Wali in the assembly elections — threatened to expose the party.
He was later pacified by senior AAP leaders.
Despite these initial hiccups, AAP is set to make history at Ramlila Maidan. A senior Congress leader said it is unlikely that the Congress will take any drastic step at this stage. “The chances of the Congress withdrawing support to AAP are very bleak,” he said. Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel too weighed in: “In an organisation there are different voices but right now our support is for AAP... we will see what happens later.”
Janardhan Dwivedi, general secretary of the Congress, admitted that there were voices of dissent over the decision to support AAP. “But as we have made a proposal, we have to carry on with it,” he said.
Political observers feel Dwivedi’s remarks convey a message that AAP will have to watch its steps. These remarks came in the wake of AAP leader Yogendra Yadav’s statement that the AAP government will probe corruption charges against former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit and her government.
Dikshit and former party president JP Agarwal are against the decision to support AAP. But then the die was cast when on Tuesday President Pranab Mukherjee approved Kejriwal’s appointment as CM and returned the file to the Union ministry of home affairs which will be sent to Jung.
Meanwhile, it’s becoming true that not everyone in the AAP are like Kejriwal. There are AAP leaders like Binny, AAP MLA from Lakshmi Nagar, who do want the trappings of power, and they will be there to create problems for Kejriwal. Binny was an independent councillor for two terms and a Congressman before he joined the anti-corruption Jan Lokpal movement. For now, AAP has managed to convince him.
All set to form government
Despite talks of the Congress withdrawing support and Vinod Binny’s revolt, AAP will form a government. Manish Sisodia, Somnath Bharti, Satyendra Kumar Jain, Rakhi Birla, Saurabh Bhardwaj and Girish Soni will be cabinet ministers.