The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is bowing to the Aam Aadmi’s wish and forming the government in Delhi. Arvind Kejriwal will be the chief minister. He will meet Lt governor Najeeb Jung later this morning to inform him of the AAP decision.
This puts an end to days of political uncertainty, with the BJP — the single largest party in the assembly — not willing to form the government because it lacked a majority in the House. The AAP, too, at first tried its best to avoid forming the government, stating that it did not get the mandate; and because it would never take the support of the BJP or the Congress.
But then, when charged with shirking responsibility — after making “outrageous” poll promises — even after being offered unconditional Congress support, the AAP decided to “seek a referendum” from the Aam Aadmi on whether or not it should form the government.
The referendum was unusual, conducted by way of sending thousands of SMS to those who had voted the AAP, asking them to send a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer to the question: ‘Should the Aam Aadmi form the government?’ How the AAP identified people who had voted for the AAP was left to the imagination.
According to the AAP, there was overwhelming response, and support for the AAP to form the government with Kejriwal as chief minister. That it was under immense pressure to form the government with Congress support was fraught with risks. Therefore, to avoid charges of striking a deal with the Congress, AAP went to the Aam Aadmi in a sort of mini-election.
The AAP also held public meetings in 272 municipal wards of Delhi, at which the party sought the decision of the people of Delhi on whether the AAP should take Congress support and form the government.
Finally, a fortnight after the election results heralded a new era and style of politics, the AAP decided to take the plunge. “We have got the mandate from the people of Delhi. They want us to form government. We will respect the people’s wish and show the arrogant political class that a party of the common man, by the common man and for the common man can not only win elections but can also form government and run it as well,” a senior AAP leader told dna. “Our view on the current corrupt political system remains. We are taking Congress’s unconditional support only because the people want us to. The BJP never replied to our questions. Our government will fulfil all the promises that we made in our manifesto.”
The decision to accept the people’s wish was, according to the AAP, announced only after analysing the results of the AAP’s efforts at getting the views of the Aam Aadmi from across Delhi, and after it was taken up by the AAP’s highest decision-making body — its Political Affairs Committee.
“Of course, the party will be led by Arvind Kejriwal, who was AAP’s contender for the post of Delhi chief minister. The whole of Delhi wants him to be CM and show what he can do for them,” said another party leader involved in the decision-making process.
In all probability, Kejriwal’s trusted colleague Manish Sisodia could find a place in his cabinet. There are three women MLAs in AAP — Veena Anand, Bandana Kumari and Rakhi Birla — one of whom could make it to the cabinet.
In the fortnight since AAP’s stunning victories in the Delhi assembly elections, which overshadowed huge BJP wins in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, it was repeatedly challenged to show its mettle by forming the government, and deliver what it had promised to the people of Delhi.
“We will form government and show the people of Delhi that there can be a clean and honest administration that would work for them. We are here to change the politics of this country,” the senior AAP leader told dna.
If Kejriwal becomes chief minister, and if the AAP decides to contest the 2014 elections in a big way, it will be difficult for him to campaign extensively as he will be saddled with running the government in Delhi and making a success of it. Only if he fulfils the promises the AAP made in its manifesto in Delhi will the AAP succeed to make a dent at the national level.
Sisodia among favourites to be part of Kejriwal’s cabinet
Arvind Kejriwal’s trusted aide Manish Sisodia is likely to find a berth in Aam Aadmi Party’s cabinet. Other names doing the rounds are MLAs Saurabh Bharadwaj, Rajesh Garg, Sanjeev Jha and Somnath Bharti.
One of three women MLAs likely to be inducted
Of the three women MLAs in AAP — Veena Anand, Bandana Kumari and Rakhi Birla — one is likely to make it to the cabinet. In the 70-member Delhi legislative assembly, a government can have seven ministers.