Following the failure of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to introduce the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Delhi Assembly, party leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal resigned amid high-decibel sloganeering at his party headquarters late on Friday evening.

Less than two months after he took oath at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan here, Kejriwal declared that he was “sacrificing” his Government to clean up politics and would take his “anti-corruption revolution” right up to Parliament.

Earlier, Kejriwal had declared that he would quit if he failed to get his pet Jan Lokpal Bill passed in the Delhi Assembly.

Poll campaign

Launching his Lok Sabha campaign while announcing his resignation, he blamed “match-fixing” by the BJP and the Congress to stall the anti-graft legislation and said they “did not allow introduction of the Bill because of the FIR against Mukesh Ambani”.

He said if naming Ambani and Narendra Modi could lead to this, he was not scared and would soon target Ministers Sharad Pawar and Kamal Nath, too. Last week, the AAP government named two Congress Ministers and Reliance Industries Chief Ambani in an FIR alleging “collusion” to fix higher gas prices from April 1, which could lead to a cascading effect on prices of transport, power, fertiliser and food.

RIL has threatened to sue the party.

Bill opposed

Earlier, a majority, 42 MLAs out of 70 in Delhi’s Assembly, opposed the introduction of the Bill, following Lt Governor Najeeb Jung’s letter of advice to the Assembly against introduction of the Bill without following constitutional procedures

“The Lieutenant Governor’s instruction to not consider the Bill should be followed,” said BJP leader Harsh Vardhan.

Congress, which is supporting the AAP Government, said it voted for the LG’s stand. “We wanted to abide by the Constitution,” said Congress leader Arvinder Singh Lovely. Kejriwal, on his part, maintained that he did not need the Centre’s permission to table the Bill.

On Friday, after an uproarious session, as soon as the Assembly Speaker MS Dhir announced that the Bill could not be introduced, SMSs were sent out to AAP volunteers and supporters to gather at the party headquarters in central Delhi.

Meanwhile, the huge crowd of AAP supporters, who had gathered in front of the party office when Kejriwal announced his resignation, seemed ready for another battle, shouting slogans, such as: “Pehle Sheila hai hai, ab Modi ki bari hai (We have defeated Sheila Dikshit. It is now the turn of Narendra Modi).”

(This article was published on February 14, 2014)
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