A day after flexing muscles against the Delhi government, two rebel legislators did a volte-face on Monday, saying they were not mulling to pull the plug.
Janata Dal (United) MLA Shoaib Iqbal and Independent legislator Rambeer Shokeen had teamed up with expelled Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Vinod Kumar Binny on Sunday, asking chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to meet their demands on slashing power and water tariff and women's security, among others, or face the music.
But Iqbal and Shokeen, however, hummed a different tune after meeting Kejriwal. Binny, who was recently sacked by the AAP for criticising the top leadership, did not attend the meeting.
Iqbal and Shokeen met the chief minister at the Delhi Secretariat and claimed he had assured them of action on the demands raised by them.
"Today, we met Kejriwal and had a good discussion on the issues raised by us. After chief minister's assurance, we will not withdraw the support to his government. Hence, we take back our ultimatum given to the government on Sunday," Iqbal said.
Claiming support of four legislators, Binny had asked the government to reverse the surcharge on power tariff, make water consumption up to 700 litre a day free without any rider, launch a probe into the Commonwealth Games scam and ensure women's security.
Binny had said he was not mulling to bring down the government, but would take a decision keeping in mind its commitment to fulfil the demands.
On being asked if expelled MLA Binny was with the decision to withdraw the threat, Iqbal claimed, "Binny has also supported us on not withdrawing support to the AAP-led government." Asked why Binny did not meet Kejriwial, Iqbal said he would come later.
Iqbal added their threat was not a blackmail tactics. "If raising public issues was blackmailing, we would then continue blackmailing."
He added the rebels had formed the Delhi Vikas Morcha, a non-political organisation. "By forming Delhi Vikas Morcha, we will begin raising public issues. It is a non-political organisation and anybody can join it."
Kejriwal's AAP, which has 27 MLAs after the expulsion of Binny, runs the government with outside support from eight Congress. If five rebels withdraw support, it would be tough for the government to survive in the 70-member House, where the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party- Shiromani Akali Dal combine has 32 legislators.