AAP declares its ministers; Congress divided over support (Intro Roundup)

New Delhi, Dec 24: As Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday held consultations on government formation and the party named its ministers, a section of the Congress was divided over extending support to the party, indicating tough times ahead for the political arrangement.

The AAP sent the names of six ministers – Manish Sisodia, Saurabh Bhardwaj, Somnath Bharti, Rakhi Birla, Satyendra Jain and Girish Soni to Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung.

The swearing-in may be held Dec 26, said party sources. However, the name of Laxmi Nagar MLA Vinod Kumar Binny, a strong probable for cabinet minister, was missing from the list, indicating there could be rift in the party. But AAP members denied it.

Chief Secretary D.M. Spolia apprised Kejriwal, set to be the next chief minister (CM) of Delhi, of the the nitty-gritty of the government formation, at the latter’s Kaushambi residence.

AAP sources said the swearing-in ceremony is likely to take place at the historic Ramlila Maidan, where an anti-corruption movement, led by Anna Hazare, was launched in 2011.

Meanwhile, angry Congress workers protested and burnt the effigy of Kejriwal as many are unhappy with the party’s outside support to the AAP. Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi confirmed the divide in the party over support to the new political party.

“There were divergent views within the Congress on extending support to the AAP. There is an opinion in the Congress that the decision to support was not correct,” he told reporters.

A source in the party told IANS: “It’s a catch-22 situation because if the party withdraws support to the AAP, then it would be shooting itself in the foot as the party shouldn’t have given it in the first place. We are stuck.”

But, for now, senior Congress leaders are evading the question of their likely withdrawal of support to the AAP.

Divergence in Congress views became more pronounced after release of a two-minute video posted on social networking sites, where the debutant party justified its decision to take outside support from the grand old party to form a government, but also threatened action against corrupt ministers.

“We’ll take action against any previous corrupt minister of the Congress and the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party),” it said.

Terming Congress as B-team of AAP, BJP leader Arun Jaitley said both parties have entered into political adjustment on government formation in Delhi with “a self-serving motive” and each wants to outfox each other.

Kejriwal has refused Z category security and official CM’s bungalow he is entitled to.

Party sources said Kejriwal wanted to discuss financial health of Delhi government with Spolia.

Government sources said Spolia informed Kejriwal that President Pranab Mukherjee has given clearance for government formation.

A reshuffle in the bureaucracy is expected with the AAP coming to power.

AAP has made a slew of promises, including those related to power and water supply, that its critics say will be difficult to implement.

The AAP staked claim to form the government in Delhi after the BJP decided against it. AAP won 28 seats, the BJP 31 and the Congress eight in the December assembly polls.

AAP was born out of the anti-corruption movement in 2012.

IANS