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Arvind Kejriwal seeks time, shoots posers to Congress, BJP
Sunday December 15, 2013 1:31 AM, IANS

In a move that apparently took both the Congress and the BJP by surprise, the AAP Saturday sought 10 days' time from Delhi Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung to decide on government formation and asked the two parties to clear their stand on 18 issues relating to the national capital, including possible cases of corruption against their leaders.

Jung submitted a "factual" report to President Pranab Mukherjee following his meeting with both Aam Aadmi Party and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders.

"He (Jung) has sent a report to the president on the present political situation," said a Lt. Governor house official.

AAP founder-leader Arvind Kejriwal met Jung after the Bharatiya Janata Party, which netted 31 seats in the 70-member assembly, Thursday conveyed that it was not in a position to form the government.

Along with its ally, Akali Dal, which has one seat, the BJP still falls four seats short of a simple majority.

Kejriwal's remarks evoked sharp reactions from the BJP and the Congress. Both parties said the debutant party was shirking its responsibility to form the government.

AAP got 28 seats and finished second, leaving Delhi with a hung house.

The Congress, which was a poor third with eight seats, submitted a letter Friday to the Lt. Governor stating that it was ready to provide unconditional support to the AAP.

The AAP said it will know the real intentions of Congress' "unconditional support" and BJP's "willingness to offer issue-based support" only after the two respond to the letter the AAP dispatched to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and BJP president Rajnath Singh Saturday.

Responding to the AAP's move, Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmed told IANS: "Sonia Gandhi has marked Arvind Kejriwal's letter to me and we will frame a reply and respond to it in a day or two."

Congress spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das said the AAP should come forward to fulfil the expectations of the people of Delhi and should not try to escape from responsibility.

"We are not going to give any conditional support. We are not going to enter into an agreement or anything," he said.

Two senior Delhi Congress leaders, Arvinder Singh Lovely and Haroon Yusuf, also accused the AAP of shirking its responsibility in forming the government.

"The 18-point programme can be implemented through administrative process. The AAP is misleading the people of Delhi," Lovely said.

BJP leader Balbir Punj said: "What is this height of arrogance? Instead of thinking of how to form the government, the leaders from the party (AAP) are busy making baseless allegations against other parties."

He said the AAP "wants to dictate their terms to other political parties".

Analysts said the conditions set by the AAP for the Congress and the BJP was an attempt to fend off criticism that it was unwilling to form the government.

Kejriwal, accompanied by party members Manish Sisodia and Kumar Vishwas, met Jung Saturday morning.

He later told mediapersons that the Congress as well as the BJP should make their stand clear on the issues raised by his party.

Kejriwal said he was amazed to know of the Congress' letter Friday night as his party had not sought support.

"There should be a probe into the scams during the past 15 years (of Congress rule in Delhi). Are they ready for this?" Kejriwal asked.

He said there should also be a probe into the allegations concerning the BJP's rule in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

"The real intention behind the unconditional support is to be known at any cost," Kejriwal said.

He said huge sums of money ordinarily exchange hands in the process of giving and taking support.

Kejriwal said his party will hold about 250 public meetings in the capital to tell people about the stance of the Congress and the BJP on the issues and ask people if the party should form the government.

The AAP leader said his party will give its final decision on the matter Dec 24.

Kejriwal said the Congress and the BJP should come forth with their views on issues it has raised, including a halt to the "VIP culture" among the legislators.

"No MLA will have a red beacon on his vehicle or big bungalows," he said.

The AAP leader said funds allocated to legislators for local development should be abolished and the funds should go directly to the local area committees.

Kejriwal also pitched for passage of the Jan Lokpal bill.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, in a press conference later in the day, denied that the government was moving for passage of the Lokpal bill in parliament under pressure from the AAP.

AAP, in its letter to the two parties, also sought complete statehood for Delhi, special audit of all electricity companies, regularisation of unauthorised colonies, stopping donations in private schools and improving working conditions of contract labour and lowly paid employees.

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