Will Arvind Kejriwal resign? Delhi assembly drama takes Aam Aadmi Party to the edge
New Delhi – Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party government has threatened to resign if their anti-corruption Jan Lokpal Bill is not introduced in the Delhi assembly. The BJP and the Congress have indicated that they will not allow any legislative business unless Law Minister Somnath Bharti goes.
Law Minister Somnath Bharti is to table the Jan Lokpal Bill in the assembly at 2 pm today.
The opposition BJP, as well as the Congress, which provides external support to the AAP government, have both demanded the Law Minister’s removal over a series of controversies, including his raid last month in his constituency targeting Ugandan women he alleged were involved in a drugs and sex racket.
Mr Kejriwal has said he would quit “a thousand times” if his pet proposal, which creates an ombudsman or “Lokpal” to investigate corrupt government officers, is not passed.
“Unless the Law Minister is sacked, we will not let the House function,” BJP leader Harsh Vardhan warned on Thursday. Mr Kejriwal and his party have asserted that Mr Bharti did nothing wrong.
Tomorrow is the last working day of the special session called just to pass the two pieces of legislation that AAP had showcased in its manifesto for the December Delhi election.
Mr Kejriwal’s unorthodox plan to discuss the Jan Lokpal Bill in an open session at a city stadium on Sunday has been shelved. The Lieutenant Governor had flagged concerns about security and the sanctity of legislative business.
The Delhi assembly lapsed into chaos on its opening day, with some legislators taking to vandalism. A BJP legislator, RP Singh, placed bangles and lipstick on Mr Bharti’s table and a Congress lawmaker walked up to Delhi Speaker MS Dhir, tore up a file and yanked his mic, accusing him of bias. The MLA, Asif Mohammad Khan, also walked to the Chief Minister’s seat and tried to rip out his mic.
“The Congress-BJP match-fixing was exposed. I don’t think any legislature in the country has seen the BJP and the Congress joining hands this way,” said Mr Kejriwal.
Even if the government tables the Jan Lokpal Bill, a legal rider that the bill must be cleared by the Centre first could raise a fresh set of problems for AAP.
The BJP has said it will not support any move that violates the Constitution. The party said the Lieutenant-Governor, as a representative of the Centre, must clear the bill before it is brought to the legislature.