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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

Congress in bind over Aam Aadmi Party support

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 21, 2014
First Published: 00:54 IST(21/1/2014) | Last Updated: 00:57 IST(21/1/2014)

A fresh debate has started  in the Congress over the decision to support AAP-led government in Delhi. The situation comes in the wake of two events – the ongoing AAP agitation led by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and finance minister P Chidambaram’s remark that outside support to the new party was “unnecessary”.

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There had been reservations within the Congress over the providing external support to the AAP during the government formation.

And in an interview to The Indian Express, Chidambaram had said it was a decision of the party’s Delhi unit. Despite making it clear that it was his personal view, the finance minister had said, “We were neither voted to form the government nor voted to be the principal opposition party. We should have just kept quiet”.

Now, with Kejriwal involved in a tussle over the suspension of four policemen for inaction – the subtext being the transfer of the control over the police force from the Centre to the Delhi government — the Congress is caught in a bind.

Most leaders feel if they pull the plug on the AAP government now, it will make a “martyr” of Kejriwal and enable him to garner public sympathy. Others feel that given time, the AAP will fall on its own, since it is becoming “gradually unpopular” with steps that cause inconvenience to the public.

On Monday, the Congress lambasted the AAP for “sitting in government and acting like the opposition” but ruled out withdrawal of support. “Our support was not to any individual or party. We responded to the mandate of the people,” said party spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das.

I&B minister Manish Tewari — who was forced to walk to Shram Shakti Bhawan after his car was stopped by AAP activists — said it was high time the party made the “transition from being agitators to administrators”.

“It was not given a mandate by the people of Delhi to create anarchy,” he said.


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