New Delhi: Vinod Kumar Binny, the expelled Aam Aadmi Party legislator who had called off a hunger strike within hours last week, is back. This time he claims he has the support of four more Delhi MLAs and is threatening to pull the rug from under the Arvind Kejriwal government.
After Chief Minister Mr Kejriwal expelled Mr Binny last month, he has 27 legislators in the 70-member Delhi Assembly. The Congress, with its eight MLAs and two others - a Janata Dal (United) law-maker and an Independent - help him to 37, one more than he needs for a clear majority of 36. (Arvind Kejriwal's AAP expels rebel legislator Vinod Kumar Binny)
Yesterday, the JD(U) legislator, Shoaib Iqbal and the Independent Ranbeer Shokeen appeared by Mr Binny's side as he declared, "I along with Shoaib Iqbal and Rambir will meet Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and withdraw support if our demands are not met in 48 hours." ('Arvind Kejriwal is a dictator': rebel Vinod Binny's 5 big complaints against AAP)
Mr Binny claimed that two AAP legislators also support him in the demand that the Kejriwal-led party immediately fulfill its electoral promises to the people of Delhi.
Senior AAP members are worried enough to have gone into a huddle last night. Even the withdrawal of support by Mr Iqbal and Mr Shokeen will put the government in trouble on numbers.
They would also have discussed the resignation from the party of founding member AAP and former diplomat, Madhu Bhaduri, who quit the party yesterday saying there is no place for women in AAP. ('AAP doesn't treat women as humans,' says founder member Madhu Bhaduri as she quits)
Upset at the way law minister Somnath Bharti has treated some African women during his infamous midnight raid last month, Ms Bhaduri said, "The party has a mentality of a khap panchayat. There is no space for women. If the other women leaders have any self-respect, they will quit too."
AAP has rejected Ms Bhaduri's allegations.
The party had expelled Mr Binny for indiscipline last month after he publicly criticised AAP and Mr Kejriwal. He has demanded that the government immediately fulfill its promises on water and electricity and security for women.
AAP dismissed Mr Binny's rebellion as the tantrum of a man denied a ministerial berth and a ticket to contest the Lok Sabha elections, charges that Mr Binny vehemently rejects.