The Aam Aadmi Party took the initiative of making corruption the main election issue in the Delhi Assembly and riding on its promise of a clean and participative governance it scored a stupendous success, winning 28 seats. However, when it comes to stepping forward to stake the claim, it seems that the party’s stance is ‘pahle aap’.
AAP is the second largest party in the Delhi Assembly with the BJP winning just four more to finish first. However, none of the parties have the numbers to form a government with a simple majority in the 70-member House. Both the BJP and AAP have shown reluctance to stake the claim. "There is no question of extending support to BJP. We will neither support anybody nor seek support. BJP has got the mandate as the largest party. We are ready for re-election," said AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal.
A party source said, more than anything else, AAP did not want to be identified with any of its rivals -- Congress and BJP. It has already been called the Congress’ B team or BJP’s B team. To form a government it will have to take support from either of these and will be seen in direct contravention of the AAP’s promises of a politics that is devoid of all tricks employed by the established parties.
Critics said the party’s reluctance can also be attributed to the fact that it has all but oven-fresh MLAs, many of them younger than 35, and also that it does not have a clear vision or a policy to run a government. AAP will need at least seven strong candidates to appoint them as ministers.
The 1993 BJP government had a mix of experience and youth. Chief minister Madan Lal Khurana had spent several years in the municipal corporation and later in erstwhile metropolitan council besides serving as a chief whip, executive councillor and leader of the opposition by turns.
The BJP’s finance minister Jagdish Mukhi was a metropolitan councillor; transport minister Rajendra Gupta had been a Delhi Mayor and health minister Harsh Vardhan, a practising physician, had worked at national and international public health forums.
Ditto for the Congress in 1998. Chief minister Sheila Dikshit had served as Minister of State in the Union cabinet between 1986 and 1989. Finance minister Mahender Singh Sathi was a Delhi Mayor and education minister Narendra Nath was leader of the opposition in the municipal corporation. Parvez Hashmi, Ashok Walia and Krishna Tirath were second time MLAs.
"Who says we don’t have strong candidates? Had we won 36 seats, we would have definitely formed the government. Will such reasons would have worked then?" Kejriwal countered.