Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will face a crucial vote of confidence today in the Delhi Assembly which he may sail through with the backing of the Congress MLAs, notwithstanding reports of uncertainty surrounding the minority government.
The Delhi Assembly completed the formality of oath taking by the members including the Chief Minister and other ministers with senior Congress member Matin Ahmed functioning as pro-tem Speaker.
Ahead of today’s vote, the Congress made it clear that it will continue its support to the AAP government and there was no question of reviewing the decision.
“We had decided to support the AAP government from outside and we are not reviewing it. We stand by our decision. There is no threat to the government from our side,” Delhi Pradesh Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely told PTI.
He termed as “misplaced” Kejriwal’s apprehension that his government has only 48 hours to deliver on the promises. “We only have 48 hours to deliver,” the Chief Minister had said.AAP has 28 MLAs and needs at least eight MLAs to achieve the required majority of 36 in a House of 70.
While the Congress has eight MLAs, the BJP and its ally SAD have a total of 32 MLAs. The JD(U) which has offered support of its lone MLA to the government and an Independent account for the remaining two members.
The oath taking was not without controversy with members from Congress and BJP objecting to Kejriwal leaving the House shortly after taking the oath.
In keeping with his unconventional style and not observing the political niceties of sitting through the proceedings when other members were taking oath, the Chief Minister took the oath first, went to the Speaker’s podium and came back to his seat after greeting BJP leader Harsh Vardhan.
He left the House within a couple of minutes which the members later criticised for not showing “courtesies”. Earlier, he had come a little late to the House after the proceedings started.
After the confidence vote tomorrow, the ruling AAP will find a tougher task when the House would elect a new speaker and deputy speaker.
While the AAP has chosen M S Dhir as its candidate for the speaker’s post, the BJP appears all set to field its candidate. The party had already refused the pro-tem speaker’s post when Lt Governor had appointed its nominee Jagdish Mukhi.
Lot of enthusiasm was witnessed among the AAP MLAs, all of them first-timers. However, there was no bonhomie among AAP and MLAs from other parties.Some of the Congress MLAs said the AAP legislators violated the decorum of the House by wearing their trademark Gandhi caps proclaiming “I am an aam aadmi”.
“Wearing caps is not allowed inside the House. They do not have any regard for decorum of the house. One AAP member was even talking on phone when the proceedings were on,” said a Congress MLA.
Almost all the AAP MLAs including a number of ministers had come to the House wearing Gandhi caps.
Majority of AAP MLAs came to the Assembly riding on Metro along with their supporters while one legislator arrived in a battery-operated rickshaw.
Rajesh Garg, AAP MLA from Rohini constituency, said he travelled 16 km on the rickshaw to reach the assembly. The rickshaw was covered with AAP poster and fitted with brooms – the party’s election symbol.
Garg, who was in Congress until recently, said his supporters in Rohini had gifted him the vehicle and he has been using for the last couple of months.
“People of my constituency have given me the rickshaw. I do not have even a scooter,” said Garg.
67 MLAs took oath yesterday. The pro-tem speaker need not have to take oath while one MLA each from Congress and AAP was absent.
Kirari MLA Anil Jha took oath in Maithali while BJP legislators Nand Kishore Garg and Naresh Gaud took oath in Sanskrit.
Congress’ Harun Yusuf, Asif Mohammad Khan and Hassan Ahmed took oath in Urdu while Lovely took oath in English. First time BJP MLA R P Singh took the oath in Punjabi.
When Kejriwal was taking oath, some AAP MLAs were seen clapping which was opposed by a senior BJP MLA.