Shortly after it pulled off the biggest political surprise in recent years by its stunning electoral debut, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has followed it up by taking an unexpected risk of forming the government with Congress support.
AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal arrives to address a press conference at the party headquarters in Ghaziabad. (AFP photo)
Given the apparent dislike both parties have for each other, a fact proved by near vitriolic statements from prominent Congress and AAP leaders even on the day when Arvind Kejriwal staked claim, it promises to be a short and stormy affair between the two before a near-certain bitter divorce.
For the AAP, which was formed mainly on an anti-corruption plank and gained popularity by attacking the Congress-led government, the decision to accept the Congress offer is double-edged.
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The Congress, already decimated in the capital, seems to be content to wait till the debutant AAP fails to deliver on what it terms “unrealistic promises” before it decides to pull the rug.
The degree of mistrust between the two sides can be gauged by the public statement from prominent AAP leader Prashant Bhushan. “We are aware that the Congress may pull down our government sooner or later. We are not in any coalition and will implement our agenda irrespective of what the Congress may want,” he told HT.
AAP leaders Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodiya, Kumar Vishwas and Sanjay Singh address the media after a party meeting at Kaushambi in Ghaziabad. (PTI photo)
The Congress, a section of whose state leadership was opposed to providing any support to the AAP, also hinted that it is not interested in keeping the debutant party in power for long.
“We will support them as long they deliver. We know it is not possible to fulfil the kind of promises they made,” said outgoing chief minister Sheila Dikshit.
The AAP leadership, being fully aware of the pitfalls in having accepted the Congress support, has gone ahead with its risky decision in an apparent bid to expand beyond the Capital.
A strong view within the party is that even a short tenure will provide it with a chance to show the difference it can make. The party plans to use any goodwill gathered during their Delhi stint for the 2014 general elections.
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