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End to Arvind Kejriwal’s comedy of errors

Saturday, 15 February 2014 - 6:00am IST Updated: Saturday, 15 February 2014 - 12:04am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

After 49 crisis-ridden days, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal predictably quits, Capital looks for a new leader, Direct-to-home democracy flops, To be caretaker CM for 5 days, President’s rule likely.
  • Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi Assembly just before government lost a vote on introduction of the Jan Lokpal Bill.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal resigned on Friday after his pet Jan Lokpal Bill could not be tabled in the Assembly.

The four-day session of the Assembly ended mid-way, with Kejriwal sending his resignation to Lieutenant Governor (LG) Najeeb Jung and recommending immediate dissolution of the Assembly.

The 49-day-old Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government failed in getting the Bill tabled, with the LG disapproving the manner in which it was being introduced.

The LG’s order, written to the Speaker, was put to vote. Both the BJP and the Congress voted in favour of Jung’s observation, leaving AAP at the receiving end.

After the Bill was stalled, Kejriwal said: “I can sacrifice one thousand chief ministerships to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill.” Kejriwal then left for the AAP headquarters at Hanuman Road, where hundreds of supporters had already gathered.

Now, Delhi might see a re-election if the LG dissolves the assembly. The LG may even invite the BJP again, which has the maximum seats. The party has 33 seats in the 70-member assembly. But the BJP is unlikely to accept the invitation and may press for immediate dissolution of the House.

In fact, party leader and opposition leader Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “We are ready for a re-election any day. It will, however, be early to comment on how the situation unfolds.”

The third option before the LG would be to place the Assembly in ‘suspended animation’.

This third option appears to be the most likely scenario as the Congress may not prefer assembly elections, along with national elections. Top Congress sources believe simultaneous elections will likely favour the BJP. The Congress, which has only eight seats in Delhi, is not keen on an early election. Just before Kejriwal announced his resignation, Congress leader of the Assembly Arvind Singh Lovely said: “We want Kejriwal to run the government. We will support him on his issues, but they have to be within the ambit of the Constitution”.

In fact, no political party in Delhi favours an early election.

Jung on Friday barred the introduction of the Jan Lokpal Bill under three sections of the Government of NCT of Delhi Act. In a message to the House, Jung stopped the Bill under Section 22 (3) of the Act, recommending that since it is a financial bill, it is required to be sent to the LG.

Rule 55(1) of the Transaction of Business of NCT of Delhi Act requires the LG to seek prior permission of the centre on the Bill.

Under Section 9(2) of the Government of NCT of Delhi Act, the LG directed the House not to consider the Bill, without his recommendation.

Kejriwal tried to push the Bill despite the LG’s message. This led to a commotion and MLAs, from both the BJP and the Congress, stormed into the well of the House.

Many of them climbed up a platform to forcibly stop the Speaker from introducing the Bill.

The Speaker was left with little option than to put the LG’s message to vote. Apart from BJP and Congress MLAs, two independents also voted in favour of the LG’s message and the Speaker declared that the Bill could not be tabled.

Expelled AAP MLA Vinod Kumar Binny voted in favour of introducing the bill to avoid expulsion on grounds of anti-defection rules.

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