The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is all set to form the next government in Delhi with the support of the eight Congress MLAs and the lone Janata Dal (United) MLA. The AAP has 28 MLAs while the Congress has eight. The government, therefore, will have the support of 37-MLAs. The majority mark in the 70-member Delhi assembly is 36.
At a meeting which ended late Monday night, the party decided to go to the people to ask them their view whether the party should form the government or not. The party will hold 280 meetings across Delhi in the next four days, a meeting in each of Delhi’s 272 municipal wards.
There is expected to be much name-calling and breast-beating after the AAP announces its decision, particularly from supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who have alleged the AAP to be a ‘B’ team of the Congress.
“To all those who think we are the Congress’s ‘B’ team here is a reminder that AAP leader and future chief minister Arvind Kejriwal defeated Sheila Diskhit, not only the Congress chief minister but also the mother of friend, MP Sandeep Dikshit,” said a source close to AAP leadership.
The four-day process would also give AAP leadership the opportunity to dodge controversies over the Lokpal Bill which is expected to come up for vote in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
Kejriwal has dismissed the government’s version as a ‘Jokepal’. This dismissal is intended to allow the party to avoid the public spat that they have got into their former mentor Anna Hazare, from which neither of the two would come out with their image in the public mind unscathed. Sources close to AAP leadership say that a spat with Hazare, however wrong the elderly man may be, would only damage the AAP leadership’s image in the public eye in future.
Beyond this, the test for the AAP is evident – to fulfill its 18 conditions that it asked the the Congress to support. The Congress has said it supports all, 16 of which require administrative action by the Delhi government, itself, and not the Centre.
It is, however, unlikely that the AAP will get time beyond six months to a year to deliver on its promises. It would only need the suggestion of an AAP government initiating investigations into 15-years of alleged irregularities in the running of the Delhi government for the Congress to withdraw support. But the BJP has been running the MCD for a decade and there could be be enough skeletons of all kinds there, as well, that the Delhi Government’s Anti-Corruption Branch may investigate.
Many observers in Delhi have been convinced that the Congress and BJP have run the city with a cosy understanding in the last 10-years. And while the AAP have proved themselves effective agitators, they still have to prove they can provide smooth governance.