New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party on Monday ended the 15-day long speculation over the next government in Delhi by staking claim and announcing that party's National Convener Arvind Kejriwal as the Chief Minister designate.
After surprising everyone with its spectacular political debut, AAP announced its decision to accept Congress's outside support to form a minority government in Delhi. The decision came after a 5-day long exercise in which the party returned to the electorate with an unofficial referendum on whether to form a government or not.
The party which played the outsider card and pursued alternative politics to register a spectacular debut in India's electoral history, revealed that Kejriwal will be the the Chief Minister of India's only city state.
"Arvind Kejriwal will be the chief minister," Manish Sisodia said.
However, Kejriwal who has time and again said that AAP's victory in the elections is the victory of the 'aam aadmi, said, "I am not becoming the chief minister of Delhi but the common man is becoming the chief minister."
Though the date for the swearing-in has not yet been finalised, sources say that it is likely to take place on the December 26. The ceremony will be held at Ramlila Maidan.
AAP, which had won 28 seats in the 70-member Assembly, was the second party that met Lieutenant General Najeeb Jung to stake claim after the Bharatiya Janta Party which had won 32 seats refused to form the government due to lack of a majority.
Kejriwal met Jung on Monday and conveyed AAP's decision to form a government in Delhi. The next step in the formation of the government in Delhi would be Jung meeting President Pranab Mukherjee to inform him about AAP's decision and asking him to withdraw notification that put the House in suspended animation.
AAP which had approached the electorate over the decision to form a government in Delhi or not, said that the decision was taken after seeking public opinion through SMSes, web and jan sabhas for 10 days. AAP claimed that it has received a total of 6,97,310 responses through its webs and SMS poll.
After removing the duplicate IDs and numbers, a total of 5,23,183 votes were found to be geniune of which 2,65,966 were from Delhi. Out of the votes from Delhi a total of 1,97,086 people or around 74 per cent asked AAP to form a government in the national capital.
There were speculations over whether Delhi will have a President's rule as after the results for the elections were declared and Delhi fell short of having a majority government, the BJP had refused to stake claim in making the government and the AAP was unsure on whether to take the support of the Congress and the BJP who had offered their support to them. The term of the last government ended on December 18.
AAP had questioned the motives of the BJP and Congress and had sent out letters to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her BJP counterpart Rajnath Singh highlighting 18 issues seeking their response on them.
The road ahead for the AAP will not be an easy one as it will be under constant scrutiny over the claims that it made during the campaigning. Congratulating the debutant party, former chief minister Sheila Dikshit said that AAP will have to fulfill the promises that it made. "I wished AAP good luck and now it is their turn to fulfill all the promises they made in their manifestos." She also clarified that it is not an unconditional support but an outside support to AAP.
The BJP too targeted AAP for indulging in political opportunism and betraying the people of the state by taking the support of the Congress. "Kejriwal has compromised his principles for power. This is a betrayal to Delhi as Delhi voted against the Congress," BJP leader Harsh Vardhan, who was also party's Delhi chief ministerial candidate said. "AAP should now fulfill promises made," he added.
Team Anna member Kiran Bedi who has been critical of Kejriwal said that he had made a smart move by taking a referendum on whether to form the government with Congress support. She said that this will help him escape allegations of being a political opportunist as is being alleged by some parties.
With Lok Sabha polls just six months away, the AAP has at least six months to run the government and use it expand to base outside Delhi. It will be seen in the months to come whether the party which has so far outwitted and out-manouvered its opponents by its un-conventional political tactics will be live to its claims and make a mark in politics of the country.