Kejriwal to Congress, BJP: Spell stand before AAP can consider backing

KejriwalAAP leader Arvind Kejriwal after meeting L-G Najeeb Jung in New Delhi on Saturday. Prem Nath Pandey
The political stalemate in Delhi seemed set to prolong as Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal Saturday asked the Congress and the BJP to clarify their stand on 18 issues before AAP could consider forming a government with either's support.

The 18 issues, listed in letters Kejriwal wrote to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her BJP counterpart Rajnath Singh, include not allowing red beacons on vehicles of VIPs, passing the version of the Lokpal Bill promised to Anna Hazare in 2011, halving power rates, opposition to FDI in retail and a special force for security of women.

Speaking after his meeting with Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, Kejriwal said that once the Congress and the BJP replied to the 18 questions, the answers would be placed before the public and only based on public reaction would AAP decide on forming a government in Delhi.

While the Congress, which won eight seats, has offered unconditional support to AAP which has 28 MLAs, the BJP, which has 31 and its ally SAD one, has offered issue-based support.

"Thus far, politics has only been about getting power. For the first time, we are willing to give up power for a principle based polity. A government can only be formed if there is a consensus on issues," Kejriwal said.

Kejriwal, who met Jung along with senior AAP leaders Manish Sisodia, Kumar Vishwas and Sanjay Singh, said he had asked Jung for time so that the Congress and BJP could get back to him.

"Last night, I found out that the Congress party had offered us unconditional support. In politics, there is nothing that is unconditional," Kejriwal wrote in his letter to Jung.

"I have written to the BJP and the Congress and asked them to clarify their stand on some issues. Only after their responses come, and are put to the public who will tell us what to do, can we inform you if we want to form the government or not."

The BJP and the Congress, however, were not pleased with Kejriwal's response.

"AAP should not confuse people or parties. They should form the government and fulfill all promises they made,"  state BJP president Vijay Goel said.

Shakeel Ahmed, Delhi Congress in-charge, said he would reply to the letter within two days. Former Delhi power minister and Congress MLA Haroon Yusuf said, "Congress gave AAP outright support. But now they're shying away from the responsibility of governance."

While both letters are largely similar in content, Kejriwal wrote in the letter to the BJP president, "It is sad that the BJP is playing politics with issues that plague the people of Delhi. One leader says that we should form the government, while another says we are hand in glove with the Congress. This kind of low politics does not show the BJP in good light."

Seventeen of the 18 questions are identical while the last is specific to the two parties. On each of them, AAP makes its suggestions and then asks, "Does your party support this policy and will it cooperate in its implementation?"

The 18th proposal to the BJP asks for support from BJP-run Municipal corporations to implement such polices and the one addressed to Sonia asks for support from the Centre.

"Will this help be limited to support from your 8 MLAs or will you also put pressure at the level of the Central government?" the question to the Congress asks.

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