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Govt plays along, to hold off Prez rule till AAP decides

Aloke Tikku, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 19, 2013
First Published: 01:10 IST(19/12/2013) | Last Updated: 01:33 IST(19/12/2013)

The Centre has decided to play along with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and hold back the move to bring Delhi under President’s Rule till early next week when the 10-day deadline set by Arvind Kejriwal to decide if his party wants to form a minority government ends.

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The home ministry had earlier planned to bring the Capital under central rule by the middle of this week. But the change of heart follows concerns that the Kejriwal-led party could make an issue out of it, particularly when AAP was holding an opinion poll to decide its stance.

Kejriwal had met L-G Najeeb Jung last Saturday where he set the deadline, which ends Tuesday.

Government sources said the decision to conduct the opinion poll – or a referendum as some have called it – had come a day after reports of the Centre planning to impose President’s rule over the next two days.

There is a sense at the home ministry that if the Union Cabinet brought Delhi under central rule before AAP’s opinion poll, they might end up giving AAP – that is already reluctant – an opportunity to walk away. One government official said patience rather than be seen to be hurrying to promulgate central rule was the sensible thing to do too.

The Congress – which had to bite the dust in the assembly elections and won only 8 seats in the 70-member assembly – had pledged unconditional support to the AAP government to nudge them to form the government. The Congress also responded to AAP’s request to support its 18-point plan of action. But AAP is too conscious of running a government at the mercy of the Congress which could pull the rug at the first available opportunity. The BJP, which together with its ally Akali Dal has 32 seats, had refused to try forming the government earlier.

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