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Just a little over a year after it was formed, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday staked claim to form the government
in Delhi with Arvind Kejriwal as the chief minister. The decision was taken at a meeting of the party's political affairs committee, after which Kejriwal met Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung.
Emerging from Jung's office at 1 pm, Kejriwal said, "I have given the L-G our letter staking claim to form the government. He will now speak to the President. The oath-taking ceremony will be held at the Ramlila Maidan." The swearing-in is slated to take place on December 26.
This ends 15 days of political deadlock, after the Delhi assembly elections produced a hung house. While the BJP emerged as the single largest party with 32 seats, it still fell short of a majority in the 70-member house. The AAP made a spectacular debut with 28 seats, while the Congress was reduced to just eight seats,
While the BJP declined to form a minority government, the Congress had written to Jung saying that it would provide outside support to the AAP. The AAP, which first said it "did not have the mandate" to form the government, later decided to hold a public "referendum" on the issue. The results, said party officials, were overwhelmingly in favour of forming the government.
The party, however, was quick to clarify that no alliances had been discussed. "This is not a government with support. We have no need to speak to the Congress or BJP since there is no question of an alliance. This is only a government which has 28 seats in the assembly. If ever the assembly feels this is not adequate, we will not be the government anymore and the people will judge. It could last one day or five years, if our policies are unopposed," said senior AAP leader Yogendra Yadav.