Five-day-old Kejriwal government faces the crucial vote of confidence in the Delhi assembly on Thursday which it is expected to sail through with the help of the Congress -- acrimony between the two sides notwithstanding.
While inviting the Aam Aadmi Party to form the government, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung had asked it to prove majority within a week.
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.
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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, too, are expected to vote in favour of Delhi’s first minority government. With 31 members, the BJP is the single largest party in the House.
There was no threat to the government, Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh said on Wednesday. “Our stand is clear. We had offered our support to the AAP government on December 13 and we are not reviewing it,” he said.
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.
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The AAP and the Congress have publically taken on each other, raising concerns about the longevity of the government. The vote on Thursday would be closely watched.
Reflecting the unease, Kejriwal had said on Tuesday he was not sure of the Congress or the BJP and was working assuming the government had just 48 hours.
The CM or one of his colleagues will move the motion and the outcome will be decided by a voice vote.
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Though eight Congress MLAs are divided on the issue of support, party general secretary Shakeel Ahmed, who is also in charge of Delhi, said there was no change in the party stand.
“The Congress MLAs will support the confidence motion to be moved by the AAP government and this support extends to the election of the speaker also,” Ahmed said.
“We will issue a whip tomorrow (Thursday), if required,” another senior Congress leader said on condition of anonymity.
Once it wins the vote of confidence, the government can 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.
Last month, AAP announced itself on the political scene in a spectacular fashion by a strong showing in the Delhi polls barely a year after its launch.