After National Experiment, AAP Open To Forming Delhi Govt With Congress


NEW DELHI – Despite having gone to court asking for fresh elections in Delhi and “officially” declaring that it had no desire to take support from Congress, Aam Aadmi Party suddenly changed tack on Tuesday when it asked lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung not to dissolve the assembly.

What’s more, AAP has decided to hold a referendum — much like it did before forming the government in Delhi five months back — and ask people whether it should make a bid for forming the government (obviously with Congress support) or go in for election.

The difference between last time and now is that while there were many in December 2013 who wanted AAP to form the government, this time the issue is not really being discussed by the people.

The surprise move came in the morning when AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal met Jung for what was described right through the day as a “coutesy call”. But at night a letter from Kejriwal asking the L-G for time “to consider options” was leaked out. Soon thereafter, AAP owned up to the letter.

Earlier in the day, AAP had told the media that they would make an important announcement in the evening. However, in the afternoon Congress declared that it had no intention of lending support to AAP. While AAP thought that the matter had ended and officially announced its plans of launching a fresh election campaign, the letter surfaced exposing its real intent.

Senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia told TOI, “We have been roaming across the country and have been told that we should not have quit government. While we left government on moral grounds, the end sufferer is the common man for whom water and electricity has become more expensive. We realized that we needed to go back to the public. We are extremely sorry for putting the people of Delhi through a tough time and would like their opinion on our next course of action.”

Now, AAP hopes to put the ball back in Congress’s court. Sources said that if people want fresh elections in the referendum, the party would be in a stronger position to contest. If they asked the party to form government again, the pressure would be on Congress to extend support to AAP.

The possibility of AAP taking support from Congress arose last week, after some AAP MLAs raised concerns about fresh elections. Senior AAP leaders have since been maintaining that their stand on government formation has been clear and they want fresh elections in Delhi as soon as possible.

“Some of the MLAs were of the opinion that support should be taken to avoid elections. This was for several reasons, including the need to counter the ‘deserter’ tag that has stuck to AAP ever since its government resigned. The party is also keenly aware that another electoral loss could spell its end. In the Lok Sabha elections, AAP’s vote share increased by 4% in Delhi but it lost in 24 of the 28 assembly segments that it had won in December,” said a source.

AAP is dependent on supporters for funding. While it received generous donations during the 2013 assembly elections, it failed to garner funds for the Lok Sabha polls. It has been reported that the party’s daily collections had dipped after the announcement of Lok Sabha results. Many of those who have quit their jobs to connect with the party are now starting to feel the pinch. A third election in the span of a year is not just taking a financial toll but also affecting people — what politicians call “election fatigue”.

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