AAP referendum farcical, says Jaitley

New Delhi, Dec 22 : Leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley Sunday termed as "farcical" the referendum by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on government formation in Delhi and accused the party of "political opportunism".

Jaitley said the AAP was somersaulting on its stated position of not accepting support and trying to mask its political opportunism.

In a post on Facebook, Jaitley said the AAP had stated it represents "alternative politics", but the party seems to be compromising on its commitments.

The AAP emerged as the No.2 party with 28 seats behind the Bharatiya Janata Party (31) in the Delhi assembly polls, which produced a hung verdict. The Congress with eight seats in the 70-member house has offered unconditional support to the AAP.

"It (AAP) is guided by idealism. It will neither support or accept support from either the Congress or the BJP," Jaitley said.

He said if the AAP stands by its commitment, the Delhi assembly "becomes a dead-locked assembly" wherein a fresh poll has to be ordered.

"How does the AAP justify a volte face where it seems to be compromising on its commitments of alternative politics," he asked.

"It may even be strategising on how to capture power, announce a few popular decisions and carve out a further positioning for itself.

"For any of these strategies to prevail, the AAP has to somersault from its stated position. It has to retract its public commitments of not accepting support from the Congress. It has, therefore, decided to enact a farcical referendum," Jaitley said.

He said "motley crowds" from all over the town are being asked whether AAP should form the government.

"... a statistical wonder is produced wherein less than 30 percent people voted for AAP in the election but more than 75 percent want it to form a government," Jaitley said.

"Political opportunism is being masked with the idea of popular sanction behind it ... its leaders could argue 'we are not hungry for power, we would not be taking Congress support. But we are democrats who are now bowing to the popular will of the people. It is the people who want the AAP to form the government with Congress support'."

Jaitley, however, acknowledged that AAP's performance in the polls was "certainly remarkable" and its "silent and systematic" campaign produced results.

He also took a dig at the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government over the results of the assembly polls, saying it misled itself because of excessive advertising.

Recalling the Emergency, Jaitley said former prime minister Indira Gandhi consistently justified her "dictatorship, press censorship, detentions of political opponents on the ground it was a 'bitter pill' to be swallowed during the 'era of discipline'".

He said Indira claimed people of India supported her but there was no way of measuring this support. He said she was routed in the 1977 elections and even lost her own seat.

"This is one of the dangers inherent in excessive propaganda. Demagogues always believe their own logic to be true. Governments buy their own propaganda. The UPA government had also misled itself because of excessive advertising of its so-called achievements," Jaitley said.

--IANS (Posted on 22-12-2013)

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