Arvind Kejriwal's team then and now: With power came more controversies

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 14, 2015 09:51 IST

The Aam Aadmi Party chief and Delhi's chief minister-designate Arvind Kejriwal along with six other ministers will take oath for the second time on Saturday.

In order to start off with a clean slate and without unwarranted controversies and headlines that marred his first term, Kejriwal should keep in mind the massive mandate his party has got and the poll promises it made.

This time around the AAP would look to keep its term dispute-free and seems to have taken steps by dropping former ministers Somnath Bharti and Rakhi Birla, both of whom were embroiled in controversy during the party's 49-day volatile rule last year.

Here is a look at controversies created and decisions taken by the AAP government during its previous term:

Somnath Bharti's midnight raid, Jan 15-16, 2014

The then Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti led a raid on an alleged drug and sex racket involving Ugandan nationals at Khirki Extension in south Delhi.

Bharti’s midnight swoop triggered a stand-off with the police, which refused to conduct an “illegal” raid in the absence of a warrant. Later, charges of racism flew thick and fast.

Now, many Africans have left the area. Bharti maintained only criminals had left and those living in the area for legitimate reasons remained. A judicial probe report into the midnight raid virtually gave a clean chit to the police and blamed Bharti for creating the controversy.

Kejriwal govt’s protest for control over Delhi Police, Jan 20-21, 2014

The then chief minister, Kejriwal, led a sit-in protest for seek state government’s control over the Delhi Police — which is under the Union home ministry — and police reforms.

Calling himself an anarchist, he said the fight was for women’s safety and called a 10-day protest demanding action against police officials who had refused to conduct the raid at Khirki Extension on Bharti’s directions.

He also wanted action against the police over the gang-rape of a 51-year-old Danish woman in central Delhi.

Kejriwal’s protest led to traffic snarls across the Capital and also saw authorities shut four Metro stations. Kejriwal called off the protest on the second day saying police officials whose suspension the AAP had demanded “are being sent on leave pending a judicial inquiry into the matter of negligence”.

Prashant Bhushan’s referendum comment on Kashmir, Jan 5-6, 2014

The AAP distanced itself from the remarks of party leader Prashant Bhushan that a referendum should be carried out in Kashmir before deployment of the army to deal with internal security threats in the valley.

Kejriwal described Bhushan’s comments as his personal view and added there was “no question of a referendum” on the issue. “Deployment of the army within the country should be decided on basis of internal security threat.”

Bhushan also clarified saying he believed Kashmir is an integral part of India. “Any reference to referendum should not be misconstrued to mean plebiscite on Kashmir’s relationship with India.”

Break the law, get 50% power bill waiver, Feb 12, 2014

In power, the AAP decided to reward those consumers who had refused to pay power bills on its request during its agitation against alleged inflated electricity and water bills.

Under the plan, consumers who refused payments from October 2012 and May 2013 — the period of the agitation — would shell out only 50% of the pending amounts and also not be penalised, the then Kejriwal government announced.

The decision was to benefit 24,036 people and cost the government Rs. 6 crore.

The Kejriwal government quit on February 14. On February 21, Delhi high court stayed operation of the Delhi cabinet’s February 12 decision on 50% waiver on power arrears.

RInfra files Rs 100-cr defamation suit against AAP in HC, March 4, 2014

Anil Ambani-led Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) filed a Rs. 100-crore defamation suit in Bombay high court against the AAP, which alleged the power company had overcharged consumers in collusion with Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission.

Anil Ambani’s elder brother Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, has also come under attack from the AAP, especially Kejriwal.

The former Delhi CM has accused the Congress and the BJP of having a "setting" with the businessman. The word "setting" used in this context by Kejriwal is a typical Indianism for an understanding on the sly.

Bharti’s spit remark, Jan 20, 2014

Embarrassed by Bharti's remarks against advocate Harish Salve and BJP leader Arun Jaitley, the AAP ordered him to mind his language. Bharti kicked up a storm by saying he wanted to spit on the faces of Jaitley and Salve after they criticised his Khriki Extension midnight raid.

Bharti also asked mediapersons if they were paid by BJP leader Narendra Modi for defaming him and his party. After his words evoked a sharp response from Kejriwal and the BJP, Bharti apologised saying, "I did not mean to say that. I apologise if I have hurt someone."

AAP leaders in sting operation, Nov 21, 2013

A sting operation by Media Sarkar claimed several AAP leaders, including Shazia Ilmi and Kumar Vishwas, were willing to accept donations in cash for the party for extending their help in recovering money from individuals and closing land deals

The sting surfaced ahead of the Delhi assembly polls. Kejriwal dismissed the claims in the sting operation as a conspiracy against the AAP, but said the party would not compromise on the issue of corruption. The AAP also said the tapes were doctored.

Chaos at janata darbar, Jan 11, 2014

A 7,000-strong crowd stormed the Kejriwal government’s first janata darbar, bringing down security barricades and jostling with an outnumbered police force to meet the CM.

Kejriwal, who wanted to take governance to the people and hear their grievance first-hand, was forced to beat a hasty retreat.

Kejriwal’s decision to take his cabinet outside the secretariat was termed populist by critics.

Following the chaos, Kejriwal admitted the arrangements were not adequate and he left the venue to avoid a stampede-like situation.

AAP expels MLA Binny, Jan 26 2014

The AAP expelled legislator Vinod Kumar Binny who was making things uncomfortable for the party soon after its success in the Delhi assembly polls. First, there were rumbles when Kejriwal did not make him a minister.

Prior to his expulsion, Binny had described Kejriwal as an autocrat. Kejriwal had responded, saying Binny had come to his house seeking a ticket to contest the Lok Sabha polls from east Delhi.

In a web poll conducted by HT asking readers whether such infighting had hit the AAP’s image of being the party ‘with a difference’, more than 53% of 7,597 respondents said, “Yes.”

Government gone in 49 days, Feb 14, 2014

Kejriwal pulled the plug on his own government over its failure to table his party’s flagship jan lokpal bill in the Delhi assembly.

Delhiites had given the debutant AAP a stunning 28 seats in the assembly polls. In web polls conducted by HT immediately after Kejriwal’s resignation, thousands expressed disappointment even as many others looked ahead to the bigger picture — the Lok Sabha polls.

Decisions taken by the AAP govt

*Delhi Jal Board chief as well 800 DJB employees transferred

* 700 litres of free water announced for households with regular water connection

*50% power subsidy for those consuming up to 400 units

*CAG audit of power discoms ordered. Helpline to report power cuts

*Anti-corruption help line announced, launched on January 13

*Fresh probe in Commomwealth Games’ street light project

*Kejriwal orders FIRs against Mukesh Ambani, Veerappa Moily and Milind Deora for increasing the price of natural gas produced in India

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