New Delhi: The central government today decided to impose president’s rule in Delhi following the resignation of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his council of ministers Friday. The assembly will now be kept in suspended animation.
With its eyes firmly on the Lok Sabha polls, the Aam Aadmi Party announced a major campaign to clean up the corrupt system, even as Kejriwal clarified he had not quit with an eye on the general elections.
As the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) shied away from forming the government in Delhi, the union cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, took the decision to impose president’s rule following the recommendation of Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung.
Jung rejected the 49-day-old AAP government’s recommendation to dissolve the assembly and call for fresh elections.
The cabinet decision will come into effect after the promulgation of a notification by President Pranab Mukherjee.
The decision will need parliament’s nod through a resolution under article 356 of the constitution.
Jung, in his report, also said that president’s rule be imposed as no party was in a position to form an alternative government.
He also forwarded Kejriwal’s resignation letter to the president.
The AAP government resigned Friday after it suffered a defeat on the Jan Lokpal bill in the Delhi assembly.
The bill was a poll promise of the AAP government, which took charge Dec 28.
A day after his resignation, Kejriwal said the move to quit was not made with an eye on the general elections. He also said he was undecided about contesting the Lok Sabha polls.
In an interview to NDTV, the 45-year-old Kejriwal also refuted arguments that his government had failed.
“I wasn’t in a hurry to resign. It was a message to the voters that we wanted to keep the corrupt out,” he said.
The party also announced major initiatives to clean up the corrupt system.
It kicked off its “Jhaadu Chalao Yatra” across 24 states. The jhaadu (broom) is the election symbol under which the party fought the Delhi election, bagging 28 of the 70 assembly seats.
With the party’s sights now set on the Lok Sabha elections, the week-long ‘yatra’ (journey) will be organised at over 2,500 places in 332 constituencies.
The party also announced a nationwide anti-corruption rally to be launched Feb 23 by Kejriwal from Haryana’s Rohtak district – the home district of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda of the Congress. Assembly elections in Haryana are scheduled for later this year.
AAP leader Yogendra Yadav said: “The second rally will be held March 2 in Kanpur.”
Yadav justified Kejriwal’s resignation, saying the AAP has set a precedent as a government that is willing to quit.
“AAP was formed to contest the election on several principles, one of the foremost being the Jan Lokpal bill,” he said.
“As we were not allowed (to introduce the bill) and it became clear that in this assembly it was impossible for AAP to even introduce the bill on Jan Lokpal, the party complimented Arvind Kejriwal for taking a clear decision of resigning,” he added.
The elections last year had given a split verdict with no party getting absolute majority. The AAP formed the government with Congress support.
S.K Sharma, former secretary of the Delhi legislative assembly, said that under suspended animation, the Lt. Governor can ask any party to form the government if he sees there is a possibility of it.
“It means there will be no fresh elections,” he told IANS.
“Though the MLAs will exist and continue to draw their respective salaries, the Lt. Governor will be the super boss to whom the bureaucrats will report,” he added.
The BJP, which emerged as the single largest party by winning 31 seats, held a meeting Saturday to discuss the party’s future course of action.
State president Vijay Goel said the party would launch an agitation at Jantar Mantar Feb 18 to expose the AAP.
“This (resignation) was scripted and planned,” Goel said.
The Congress, which with its eight lawmakers had helped prop up the AAP to reach the halfway mark in the 70-member assembly, blamed the AAP for its fall.
“Though AAP tried to tackle Delhi’s problems, I don’t think they succeeded because they started going beyond the constitution… and that is when they really failed,” said former chief minister Sheila Dikshit.