AAP awaits Cong, BJP stand on its 18 issues

December 16, 2013 - 8:42:34 am

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal (left), walks with fellow party members after a meeting with Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung at the governor’s house in New Delhi.

New Delhi: Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal yesterday said he would wait for a response from the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to the 18 points he raised before deciding on whether his party could form the government in Delhi.

“We are waiting for their (Congress and BJP) reply on 18 issues. Let the reply come, we will decide after that,” Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) founder leader Kejriwal told reporters.

He said his party wanted to have a consensus on all the 18 issues with the Congress and the BJP, and would think of a process for forming government only after that. The AAP on Saturday sought 10 days’ time from Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to decide on government formation, and asked the two parties to clear their stand on 18 issues it listed in letters to Congeress president Sonia Gandhi and BJP chief Rajnath Singh. 

The points include: Regularisation of unauthorised colonies, pukka (concrete) houses for slum dwellers, 500 new schools, regular jobs for those working on contract basis with the Delhi government, full statehood for Delhi and control over Delhi Development Authority and Delhi Police by the state government and not the centre, and provision for people to make decisions at “mohalla sabhas” or neighbourhood gatherings.

Kejriwal met Lt Governor Jung after the Bharatiya Janata Party, which netted 32 seats in the 70-member assembly, including one seat by its ally Akali Dal, Thursday conveyed it was not in a position to form the government.

The results of the Delhi assembly polls were announced Dec 8. The one-year-old AAP emerged the second-largest party, winning 28 seats. 

The Congress, which won only eight seats, has offered the AAP unconditional support. In his letter to Jung, however, Kejriwal maintained that “no support is ‘unconditional’ in politics”.

Meanwhile, AAP’s maiden rally in Kolkatta yesterday may not have matched the cacophony and strength of the usual political gathering of a West Bengal capital, but volunteers said they were happy that people across all walks of life joined the chorus to demand end to corruption and for a strong Lokpal.

Called “Chetna Yatra,” the two-km walk from College Square to Esplanade witnessed participation of more than 300 people - mostly youngsters, voicing their concern over rising corruption in the country. People of all ages, including children, sported the customary AAP cap with the words “Main hoon Aam Aadmi” (I am a Common Man) printed on it, and walked the distance carrying the national flag and banners deriding graft. “More than a political rally, the march was an opportunity for the city to show solidarity to AAP’s countrywide fight,” AAP volunteer Mukul Keshari said.

Shouting slogans against corruption, participants also demanded a stronger Lokpal Bill.

“AAP is opposed to the current Lokpal Bill under consideration in parliament, and through the walk, we also sought to raise awareness about the stringent bill,” Keshari said. Buoyed by Sunday’s march, the AAP is planning a mass meeting of its central leadership in Kolkata early next year.

“Manish Sisodia (party leader) congratulated us for our efforts and we are discussing about holding a ‘jan sabha’ (mass meeting) in the city early next year,” added Keshari.IANS



Rift deepens between Anna and AAP over Lokpal Bill

New Delhi/Ralegan Siddhi (Maharashtra): The rift between the Aam Aadmi Party led by Arvind Kejriwal and social activist Anna Hazare, who was earlier Kejriwal’s mentor, deepened yesterday over the Lokpal Bill.

Hazare said the government should pass the Lokpal Bill in the din, if necessary, and later move amendments. The AAP rejected the legislation under consideration in parliament, saying it was weak and would not prevent corruption, but instead work to “protect the corrupt”.  “I would say if some parties are creating a ruckus, pass the bill in the din... so many bills are passed in such a din. If needed, the government can also extend the session,” Hazare said at his village Ralegan Siddhi in Maharasthra, where he is continuing his indefinite hunger-strike.

Asked of Arvind Kejriwal’s comment that he may not be aware of the provisions of the bill, Hazare said: “I have read the bill, maybe he has not read the bill.”

“This Lokpal Bill does not provide for formation of Lokayuktas, there is no provision for whistle-blower protection, and it is not free of the government,” AAP member and lawyer Prashant Bhushan told reporters in New Delhi at the Constitution Club.

“What is the point of passing this Lokpal Bill? It will not stop corruption at all,” he said, adding it would only “protect the corrupt”.

Kejriwal said there was no independence for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from the government. “They are not making CBI independent in this bill. If this happens, even the prime minister may go to jail in 2G or some other scam,” he said. “This bill will be beneficial for the Congress and its vice president Rahul Gandhi will get the credit,” he said. IANS



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