A LITMUS TEST FOR DIRECT DEMOCRACY

New Delhi :  The three-week-long suspense over government formation in the Delhi city-state assembly has ended with the Aam Aadmi Party accepting the invitation from Governor Najeeb Jung.

A LITMUS TEST FOR DIRECT DEMOCRACY

In consonance with public expectations, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal would be sworn in as the chief minister on December 26 at a public function at the historic Ramlila Maidan. It was from this maidan that his one-time mentor Anna Hazare and he had launched their massive anti-corruption campaign in 2011.

This marks a new phase in the political history of the city. Said Kejriwal after he met the Governor, “I am not becoming the chief minister but the common man is.”

In an unusual move, Kejriwal had consulted voters on whether AAP should try to form a government with the support of the Congress, which it had accused of massive corruption in its election campaign.

The 45-year old Kejriwal, a former officer of the Indian Revenue Service, would be heading a minority government as his party has the support of 28 out of the 70 legislators in the assembly. He mustered the majority on the basis of the outside support offered by the dethroned Congress that has just 8 MLAs.

The BJP had emerged as the single largest party with 31 MLAs, but it declined to form the government, and for some time it appeared that there would be a stalemate. But with the Congress offering unconditional support initially and the AAP imposing its 18 conditions the situation changed.

However, after Kejriwal announced the decision to form the government, he has come under fire from the BJP leaders who have reminded him of his promise that he would neither ‘take nor give’ support to the Congress. BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar charged him betraying the people’s trust.

Even before the government actually assumes office, there are ample indications that this is not going to be a five-year long arrangement. With the Lok Sabha elections due within a few months, the expectation is that the AAP could have a short stint in power and there could be another round of elections, possibly along with the general elections.

Former Delhi chief minister Shiela Dixit stressed that there was nothing unconditional about her party’s support to the new government and its continuation would depend on the performance of the AAP. “If they are able to give relief to the people then well and good otherwise we shall see,” she said.

With the AAP announcing its plans to contest Lok Sabha elections in different states, including Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, even the few weeks that it shall spend in government here would have a crucial bearing on its future politics.

Anil Sharma

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