Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s threat to resign if the jan lokpal bill is not passed in the Delhi assembly may not be a smart move, according to some key members of his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
The jan lokpal bill is an anti-corruption bill drawn up by civil society activists and is a major plank of the AAP.
“The whole country is watching us and I am certain the resignation threat by the Delhi chief minister is going to alienate the educated middle class of the country,” Ashok Agarwal, a member of the AAP’s national executive, said on Thursday.
Agarwal, a noted social activist, believes instead of threatening to quit, the focus should be on working hard to prove that the party is capable of governance.
He said people of Delhi had voted for the party to govern and govern well, but instead it was taking up, one after another, issues that were diverting its attention from core issues of governance.
"There is so much to do in Delhi, so many departments that need government's attention. If we perform well, it will go down well with the people across the country.”
Edit: Break law and we will reward you, seems AAP’s message to people
Agarwal is not alone in fearing that the threat to resign, or eventual resignation, will send a wrong signal to people across the country.
AAP spokesperson Prof Anand Kumar agreed that people (outside Delhi) were watching the party closely. "Delhi is a laboratory and we have to fulfil people's expectations here in order to succeed in the Lok Sabha elections," he said. "How can we go to the Lok Sabha elections without anything to show on the governance front?"
Kumar too is a member of the AAP national executive, one of the rookie party’s top decision making bodies.
AAP govt's Jan Lokpal Bill delayed
Barely 17 months old, the AAP, riding high on a stunning poll debut in Delhi, has decided to contest at least 350 Lok Sabha seats when elections are held this summer.
Kejriwal’s insistence of quitting over the Jan Lokpal Bill, however, has the strong backing of many others in the AAP.
Sanjay Singh, the party’s in-charge of Uttar Pradesh for the Lok Sabha elections, did not agree with Agarwal’s view. "We did receive the mandate to govern, but the Congress and the BJP are not allowing us to work."
Asked if giving up power in Delhi would be a party strategy to prepare well for the Lok Sabha polls, for which Kejriwal would be a key campaigner, Singh brought up multi-tasking by Gujarat chief minister and BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
He said if Modi could campaign and govern his state at the same time, so could Kejriwal.
"The party is strongly behind the chief minister and will do whatever he decides," Singh added.
Read: Democracy can’t be confined within assembly, says Delhi govt
The Congress and the BJP have accused Kejriwal of looking for excuses to wriggle out of his responsibilities.
Kejriwal had on Sunday threatened “to go to any extent” for the bill, even if it meant resigning. “The Jan Lokpal Bill is more important to us than staying in government. We will quit if it is not passed. The government will fall if the janlokpal and swaraj bills are not passed,” he had said.
Read: AAP not serious about passing bills, running govt, alleges Congress