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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Delhi: AAP govt wins trust vote in Assembly; CM Kejriwal says it's a victory for truth, honesty

HT Correspondent and Agencies, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 02, 2014
First Published: 17:52 IST(2/1/2014) | Last Updated: 21:51 IST(2/1/2014)

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won the confidence vote to rule Delhi, after Congress said it will support the new government in public interest.
 
Speaking during the debate on the vote, Kejriwal said “we want to bring Swaraj, self-rule, in Delhi”.

He said politicians forced the Aam Aadmi Party to contest the elections.
 
“The people asked for honest politics, but the politicians of this country did not listen,” he said.
 
“We had decided whether we lose of win, we will always stand for the truth. Who knew we would win. Politicians used to make fun of us, that we will lose, but truth prevails,” he said.
 
Claiming his party’s fight was to clean up the politics of this country, he said politicians had forgotten that “the common man ploughs the fields, makes buildings and drives autos.
 
“Common man's victory in elections has made me have faith in god. I never used to believe in God but after December 4 AAP victory, a miracle happened. I started believing in God,” he said.
 
Reiterating his party’s aim to rid the country of corruption, he said, “Where has all the money for people gone? We have to admit it has been eaten up by corrupt politics.”
 
“People, not MLAs and officers, will decide where their money should be spent,” he said.
 
He said water and inflated water and power bills were another important issue, while naming several areas where there is no proper water supply.
 
“We want power companies to be audited. There is no shortage of money, they just don't meet the needs of the people,” he said.
 
In 65 years why was the 'aam aadmi' not able to fulfil his basic needs? Kejriwal asked.


What happened in Delhi Assembly on Thursday


A floor test, or the vote of trust, is a simple way of proving that the government enjoys the confidence of the House. If more than half the number of members present in the House backs it, the government wins the confidence vote.

The five-day-old government sailed through with the help of the Congress despite the acrimony between the two sides. The AAP and the Congress have publically taken on each other, raising concerns about the longevity of the government.

In the 70-member Delhi assembly the majority mark is 36. AAP has 28 members and the Congress, which has extended "outside support" to its government, has eight.

Lone Janata Dal (United) MLA Shoaib Iqbal and Independent MLA Rambir Shokeen voted in favour of Delhi's first minority government.

With 31 members, the BJP is the single largest party in the House.

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said that corruption was a major issue discussed in the Delhi assembly and assured the House that all politicians, including AAP MLAs, will be punished if they are involved in corruption.

Read: Cong assures AAP of support, BJP questions their alliance

On the floor of the House, the Congress party had assured the Aap Aadmi Party (AAP) of its "total support" even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused Kejriwal of negating people's mandate by taking "corrupt" Congress' support to form the government in Delhi.

The AAP government moved a confidence motion on the floor of the Delhi assembly and urged members to rise above political affiliations and support alternate governance for the people of Delhi.

AAP minister Manish Sisodia moved the motion seeking the trust of the House and chief minister Kejriwal made a speech.

While inviting the AAP to form the government, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung had asked it to prove majority within a week.

The government can now go ahead with its plans for Delhi. Even if the Congress doesn't agree with it, it will not be able to withdraw support, as a no-confidence motion cannot be moved within six months of another.

The assembly session will continue until January 7 and the speaker would be elected on January 3. L-G Jung will address the House on January 6. On January 7, a vote of thanks will be presented.

The AAP, which was launched barely a year ago, surprised everyone by its spectacular performance in the Delhi assembly polls last month.

Delhi is vital to AAP's national designs as it can showcase its "achievements" in the Capital during the Lok Sabha elections due April-May. If the government falls, AAP can gain sympathy, blaming the Congress.

In his first major decisions, Kejriwal has announced a reduction in electricity tariffs and delivered on the party's promise to give free water to the residents of Delhi. He has also announced an audit of the power distribution companies.


"Total support"

Newly-appointed Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief  Arvinder Singh Lovely assured the AAP that as long as they continue with their "good work for the people of Delhi", his party will back them.

"Kejriwal ji you claim your government won't last more than 48 hours but we assure you we will support you for five years," said Arvinder Singh.

During the debate, he questioned the water and power subsidies offered by the Kejriwal-led government and asked the AAP not to take any decisions in haste as they will put a halt on developmental issues.

"The decision to free water will not benefit the needy," Lovely said.

He said that water has not become cheaper but more expensive.

"How can you offer subsidy on power when budget for this financial year has been allocated already? How was subsidy allowed without assembly approval," the Congress leader questioned.

"Congress also provided subsidy, so how is AAP different from us then?"


"AAP misleading people"


Earlier, Harsh Vardhan, who was BJP's chief ministerial candidate, while speaking during the trust vote debate in the Delhi assembly, launched a scathing attack on AAP.

"The country wants to know what is AAP's reason behind joining hands with a party the people threw in the dustbin," said Harsh Vardhan.

He accused Sisodia and Kejriwal of misleading people of Delhi and questioned AAP leaders on their austerity drive.

He also accused AAP of running empty Metro trains just to prove a point on Saturday adding that the aam aadmi faced inconvenience because of it.

"Traveling in the Metro is nothing special, I too travel in the Metro and I am sure many other MLAs do as well," the BJP leader said.

The BJP leader raised questions over foreign funding to NGOs run by Kejriwal and Sisodia.

"We don't think we can and will support such a government as they have betrayed the people of this country," he said.

"A party which Kejriwal used to refer as the most corrupt party, the party against which he contested elections, the party against which he said that if elected to power he will send corrupt ministers to jail, and will unearth all unfair trades of that government, he took the support of that party.

"Today the country wants to know what was his compulsion to form a coalition with the same party," said Vardhan.

Attacking AAP's decisions on water and electricity soon after coming to power, Vardhan said the urgency shown by AAP in implementing populist measures is not reflected in taking on the corrupt.

He also claimed that candidates with the cleanest image got the maximum votes and people gave maximum seats to the most honest party (BJP), which emerged as the largest party.

"It is an irony that the party that was ruling for 15 years lost the power, the one which won the highest number of seats is sitting in opposition and the one that stood second has formed the government," he said.


"Moral mandate"


AAP leader Manish Sisodia, while moving the vote of confidence said, "It is not the individual MLAs who are sitting here, it is the people of Delhi who are sitting here, each of the 70 MLAs sitting here represent Delhi's people."

"The people of the country are watching today that what kind of decision will be taken here today," he said.

"We are not a party, we are representatives of people and urge the MLAs of all party's to rise above party lines and support alternate governance for the people of Delhi," he said.

Sisodia, who is a minister in the Kejriwal-led AAP government, said his party didn't compromise to form the government.

The people of Delhi gave AAP the "moral mandate" to form government, he said.

Terming it a historic day for AAP, Sisodia, who was flanked by chief minster Kejriwal, said, "We are here for development. We stand here to clean the politics of the country.

"We want to ensure that people in Delhi get clean water to drink and cheap electricity. We are here for the traders, farmers and youth of Delhi. We will improve the facilities for the people of Delhi," he said.

The voting on the motion was taken place at 6pm.

Chief minister Kejriwal had earlier said he is not worried about his government's fate when the assembly votes on the confidence motion.

"People have faith in us, we have no fear," said Kejriwal on the vote of confidence in the assembly.

(With PTI inputs)

HT Analysis: Aam Aadmi Party on the rise but is it on the right path


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