Amid Delhi stalemate, Congress replies to AAP

New Delhi, Dec 16 : The Congress Monday told AAP that 16 of the 18 points it has raised in a bid to form a government in Delhi needed no legislative backing. The AAP, under intense pressure to take power, said it would take a decision in 48 hours.

Making light of the issues flagged by the Aam Aadmi Party, Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmed said the letter addressed to party president Sonia Gandhi only betrayed AAP's political immaturity.

AAP leader Yogendra Yadav Monday said the party will Tuesday consider and take a decision on the Congress' reply to their Delhi-related points.

"Congress has responded today (Monday) on the 18 points on which we asked them to clear their stand. On Tuesday, we have a political affairs committee meeting. The final decision will be taken in it," he said.

In identical letters to Gandhi and BJP president Rajnath Singh Saturday, AAP founder leader Arvind Kejriwal sought assurances that both parties will back the 18 points if the AAP were to form a government and end the capital's political stalemate.

On Monday, the Congress responded that 16 of the demands were "administrative" in nature -- which could be tackled by any government.

"The permission of the legislative assembly is not needed for their implementation once the government is formed," said the Congress letter to Kejriwal.

Signed by Ahmed, the Congress letter said the other two issues - support for a Jan Lokpal bill and full statehood for Delhi - were outside the purview of the Delhi government.

The Congress, however, pointed out that it had offered outside legislative support to the AAP and not "unconditional" support as claimed by Kejriwal.

"In your letter, you have repeatedly mentioned our 'unconditional support'. But our letter to (Delhi's) Lt. Governor does not mention that.

"We talked about outside support which means we will not be part of the government," it said.

The Congress, which won eight seats in the Delhi elections, earlier offered its support to the AAP -- which with 28 seats finished second in the 70-member legislature -- to form a government in Delhi.

Ahmed said Monday: "AAP is a new party, so (there is) a lack of experience. They did not know that 16 points are administrative.

"The 16 points are not legislative, so our support is not needed. Rest two we support too but are out of Delhi's government's reach."

There has been no reply thus far from the BJP which finished with 31 seats in the hung house. Before Kejriwal shot off his letter, BJP leaders had said they will extend "constructive support" to the AAP.

Kejriwal could not be reached for comment. But his senior colleague Manish Sisodia said Monday that the party would meet and discuss the latest development.

"We want to form a government," he said. "But we will not engage in any closed door discussions with any party.

"We will meet in the next 48 hours and decide (on the Congress reply)," he added.

--IANS (Posted on 16-12-2013)

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