This Article is From Feb 10, 2014

Arvind Kejriwal's government on shakier ground

Arvind Kejriwal's government on shakier ground

File photo of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

New Delhi: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's minority government in Delhi is precariously placed after an independent lawmaker withdrew his support today. Mr Kejriwal's Aam Admi Party or AAP now has exactly 35 seats - to stay in power, it needs 36.

If Mr Kejriwal is asked to prove his majority, the Speaker, who is from his party, can bridge the gap by casting his vote.

AAP has 27 legislators including the Speaker. The Congress provides the support of eight lawmakers, though the alliance is a deeply dysfunctional one with both sides accusing each other regularly of malpractice.

The independent who has ditched AAP today is Rambeer Shokeen. He accused the government of failing to deliver on better and cheaper water and power for Delhi.

Mr Kejriwal has repeatedly dared the Congress to cancel its support, most recently over the anti-graft Jan Lokpal bill, which he championed and placed at the Centre of his pre-poll promises to voters. (Watch: I will quit if Jan Lokpal bill is not passed, Arvind Kejriwal to NDTV)

The chief minister wants Delhi lawmakers to vote on the bill - which creates an ombudsman or Lokpal - at a special session starting Thursday. But the Congress says that any bill to be considered by the Delhi legislature must first be cleared by the union government, a position unacceptable to Mr Kejriwal. (Jan Lokpal bill must be discussed in stadium: Arvind Kejriwal)

This morning, Mr Kejriwal tweeted, "I am willing to give up being chief minister a hundred times in the effort to fight corruption."

Both the Congress and the opposition BJP have said that the chief minister and his party are too green to be able to offer good governance, and are using the controversy around the Jan Lokpal Bill to camouflage their real motive, which is to exit office without admitting their inability to run Delhi.