WHAT began as an experiment in participatory politics 48 days ago ended Friday where it started — the Aam Aadmi Party’s Delhi headquarters at 41, Hanuman Road.
In a public announcement to supporters who had gathered there at short notice, Delhi’s AAP Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said he had quit as his bid to table the Jan Lokpal Bill was foiled by the Congress and BJP who joined hands to call the Bill unconstitutional and vote against it.
Minutes later, Kejriwal called a meeting of party workers and after discussions, went to submit his resignation to Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung.
But Delhi’s fifth CM masked defeat with an ambitious call — that the Delhi Assembly was not enough. “From the scenes I have witnessed today, it is clear that we have to be in Parliament,” Kejriwal had said in his last speech to the Delhi Assembly a few hours earlier.
In the end, Kejriwal’s Jan Lokpal Bill could not even be introduced in the 70-member Assembly, let alone be debated and voted on. Forty-two legislators voted against its introduction and the AAP’s 27 MLAs were in favour.
The AAP had pushed to introduce the Bill against the advice of Jung, who wrote to Speaker M S Dhir that the Bill could not be tabled without his approval. All eyes are now on the L-G as he has to decide whether to dissolve.
the Assembly as sought by Kejriwal or keep it in suspended animation.
“The council of ministers met this evening and decided to tender its resignation. The council also recommends dissolution of the Delhi Assembly and immediate conduct of elections to the Delhi Legislative Assembly. The same may kindly be accepted,” Kejriwal wrote in his letter addressed to the President through the L-G.
“The Janlokpal collapsed, but why did this happen?” Kejriwal asked his supporters outside the party office. “Three days ago, we registered an FIR against Mukesh Ambani. Ambani is that man who runs our government. He said ‘Congress is my shop, I can buy it all’. For the past year, he has also funded Narendra Modi.”
Targeting Jung, Kejriwal said he had demanded immediate polls.