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AAP declares its ministers; Congress divided over support


New Delhi, Dec 24 :

As Aam Adami Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday held consultations on government formation and the party named its ministers, a section of the Congress was divided over extending support to the party, indicating tough times ahead for the political arrangement.

Kejriwal, set to be the next chief minister of Delhi, met Chief Secretary D.M. Spolia at his Kaushambi residence.

AAPThe senior official apprised him of the the nitty-gritty of the government formation and swearing-in ceremony likely to take place at the historic Ramlila ground, AAP sources said.

Meanwhile, angry Congress workers protested and burnt the effigy of Kejriwal as many of its workers are unhappy with the party’s outside support to AAP.

Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi confirmed the divide in the party over support to the AAP.

“There were divergent views within the Congress on extending support to the AAP. There is an opinion in the Congress that the decision to support AAP was not correct,” he told reporters.

A source in the party told IANS: “It’s a catch-22 situation because if the party withdraws support to AAP, then it would be shooting itself in the foot as the party in the first place shouldn’t have given outside support. We are stuck.”

But, for now, senior Congress leaders are evading the question of their likely withdrawal of support to the AAP.

Divergence in Congress views became more pronounced after release of a two-minute video posted on social networking sites, where the debutant party justified its decision to take outside support from the grand old party to form a government, but also threatened action against its corrupt ministers.

“We’ll take action against any previous corrupt ministers of the Congress and the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party),” it said.

Kejriwal who held consultations on government formation with Delhi’s chief secretary, has refused security and official bungalow he is entitled to. Delhi chief minister is given Z category security.

AAP sources said in the meeting to chalk out cabinet portfolios, a senior AAP member walked out as he was upset over not being given a cabinet berth. But, AAP members denied the rift.

AAP declared its list of ministers in the evening. They include Manish Sisodia, Saurabh Bhardwaj, Somnath Bharti, Rakhi Birla, Satyendra Jain and Girish Soni.

Party sources said Kejriwal wanted to discuss financial health of Delhi government with the chief secretary. AAP has made a slew of promises, including those related to power and water supply, that its critics say will be difficult to implement.

“Among other things, Kejriwal wanted to discuss with the chief secretary the financial health of the government,” a party source told IANS.

Government sources said Spolia informed Kejriwal that President Pranab Mukherjee’s clearance has been given for government formation.

A reshuffle in bureaucracy is expected with the AAP coming to power.

The AAP staked claim to form the government in Delhi after the Bharatiya Janata Party decided against it. AAP had won 28 seats, the BJP 31 and the Congress eight in the December assembly polls.

Kejriwal said he and his ministers will take oath at the Ramlila Maidan, where an anti-corruption movement, led by Anna Hazare, was launched in 2011.

AAP was born out of the anti-corruption movement in 2012. The date for swearing-in has not been finalised yet.