Will it back AAP’s choice? Congress keeps party guessing on Speaker

Even before proving its majority on the floor of the Delhi Assembly, the nervous alliance between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress will face its first test in electing the Speaker of the House. Even as the AAP maintains its stand on investigating all allegations of corruption during previous governments, the Congress has kept the debutant party guessing on whether it will support their choice of Speaker.

The Speaker of the Delhi Assembly is elected by simple majority in the House. A pro-tem Speaker presides over the election. The AAP will have to prove its majority after the Speaker is elected.

But the Congress, with eight MLAs, remains undecided on whether they will support the AAP's choice for the Chair of the House. "This is a decision that will have to be taken by the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader. The CLP leader will be appointed within a few days after which a decision will be taken in a meeting with all the MLAs," a senior Congress leader said.

The AAP and Congress together have 36 seats in the House, just past the required simple majority. In recent days, the Congress has witnessed protests from within over supporting the AAP from the outside. The Congress had made it clear to the AAP that their support was not unconditional and that it would be performance-based.

However, the BJP, the single largest party with 32 seats in the 70-member Assembly, could also play spoilsport and choose to nominate its own candidate. A senior BJP leader said, "We have not yet decided our strategy to take on the AAP in the Delhi Assembly. We will decide in a few days." Sources in the BJP indicated that the party could well nominate a candidate.

Meanwhile, the AAP seems staid in its approach. AAP Political affairs Committee (PAC) member Sanjay Singh said, "We have not discussed this issue so far. There is still time left till the swearing-in ceremony on December 28."

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