Delhi may see President's rule as Kejriwal threatens to quit

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind KejriwalDelhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday said his Aam Admi Party government will quit (after just about two months in office) if its Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill is not passed by the assembly, raising the spectre of a spell of president's rule and a fresh state election which may again prove indecisive.

The union government, having consulted its legal advisors, has stuck to its stand that passage of the bill without the Centre's approval is unconstitutional, particularly as the union will foot part of the bill for the lokpal or corruption watchdog. The eight Congress MLAs whose support is vital for the AAP government's survival have decided not to support an ''unconstitutional'' bill.

"Jan Lokpal Bill is more important than staying in government. We will quit if it is not passed. The government will fall if the Jan Lokpal and Swaraj bills are not passed," Kejriwal said.

The Swaraj Bill will be passed by the Delhi cabinet on Tuesday and tabled in the assembly on 13 February 13, while the Delhi Lokpal Bill 2014 will be tabled in a special session of the assembly on 16 February, he said.

Kejriwal had on Saturday threatened "to go to any extent" over the Jan Lokpal Bill, which is opposed both by the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Explaining his government's stand on the bill, the chief minister said, "They said the Union government's clearance is needed. Then why are we elected? We are asking for removal of corruption, they are saying no to it. The law is for the people and not vice versa." He further pointed out that the previous Shiela Dikshit government had passed as many as 13 bills without the Centre's approval.

Asked what happens if the Congress does not support the bills, he said, "Let them not pass (the bill), people will teach them a lesson. We would have liked to carry out a referendum on this issue but it won't be possible this time. But we will go back to people and come with 50 seats."

Earlier in the day, the AAP's Political Affairs Committee (PAC) member Sanjay Singh said Jan Lokpal and Swaraj are the "party's commitment" and that the party will stand by what Kejriwal decided.

The Congress assessment says that since Kejriwal has ''failed to implement his promise of cheap water and electricity'' to Delhi residents, he is looking for an ''escape route'' and could step down, taking the ''moral high ground'' on the jan lokpal issue, according to one report.

(See: Also see: Independent MLA may pull plug on Delhi's AAP government)