NEW DELHI: Buoyed by another thumping victory in the Delhi Assembly elections, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party is already eyeing the three municipal corporations in the city, the elections for which are two years away, even as the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress engaged in bitter internal bickering.
The reason for the AAP getting down to business immediately is because many of the poll promises made in its manifesto on sanitation and cleanliness, can only be fulfilled if it has administrative control of the municipal bodies.
There are three civic bodies in Delhi, all of which are currently being ruled by the BJP for more than a decade. "It is very important that we sweep the MCDs too, many of our promises made in the manifesto and the guarantees that we gave are dependent on the civic bodies, which are not with us currently," said a party official.
"The structure of Delhi is such that the Delhi government allocates funds to the MCDs. There has been a lot of friction over this. We will keep supporting the three municipalities financially for the next two years but control is the target," the official added.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will take oath for the third time at the Ramlila ground on Sunday, the party announced on Wednesday, adding that the event would be open to the public. Party officials said plans were being drawn up to invite counterparts from other states for the swearing-in ceremony. Kejriwal set the ball rolling for government formation in the morning, meeting all the newly elected lawmakers at his residence where he was chosen the leader of the legislative party. He later paid a courtesy visit to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.
In the evening, Kejriwal met the L-G again to stake claim to form the new government. Party sources said the CM was likely to retain all the sitting cabinet ministers.
While the AAP is readying to form the new government, the Congress was involved in a bitter and public spat. AICC incharge PC Chacko on Wednesday drew the ire of his party colleagues after he claimed that the party’s downfall had started in 2013 under the late chief minister Sheila Dikshit.
Senior leaders blamed for BJP drubbing
Many party leaders contested Chacko’s claim, citing figures of the party’s vote share in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He later clarified his remarks on Dikshit and resigned from the post, which was accepted. A blame-game played out in the BJP also.
"Senior leaders were appointed to oversee the elections but they failed to counter the freebies offered by the AAP government. Their survey predicted a comfortable win but the ground reality was different. Moreover, the party overplayed the Purvanchali card for which it ignored its core vote base of the Punjabis and the banias," said a leader.
Sharmishtha swipe at P Chidambaram
Delhi Mahila Congress chief Sharmishtha Mukherjee on Tuesday joined issue with party veteran P Chidambaram for gloating about the AAP victory, sarcastically saying all state Congress units should shut shop if the task of the defeating the BJP has been outsourced
Chacko quits as Delhi in-charge
AICC’s Delhi in charge PC Chacko tried to shift the blame for the humiliating consecutive ducks in the polls on late chief minister Sheila Dikshit. He later resigned and it was promptly accepted by party chief Sonia Gandhi.