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48-hour ultimatum for Arvind
Trio threaten to pull plug

Binny in New Delhi (PTI)

New Delhi, Feb. 2: Three Delhi legislators, including an expelled Aam Aadmi Party MLA, have threatened to withdraw support to the Arvind Kejriwal government amid hints that two more could join them in pulling the plug.

“There are five of us,” said expelled AAP legislator Vinod Kumar Binny, who has teamed up with the Janata Dal (United)’s Shoaib Iqbal and Independent Ramvir Shokeen.

“We will be meeting tonight (to) decide on the contours of a third front in Delhi. If the AAP government does not fulfil the promises it made to the people of Delhi in the next 48 hours, they should not remain in power.”

If the three follow up on their threat, the month-old AAP government will lose its majority in the House of 70. The AAP, which had 28 MLAs before Binny was expelled for calling Kejriwal a dictator, has the backing of the Congress’s eight legislators apart from the support of Iqbal and Shokeen.

If the three MLAs withdraw support, the government’s strength will be reduced to 35, the halfway mark in the Assembly. If the other two MLAs, as Binny says, join them, the government will be left with the support of 33, three fewer than the majority mark of 36 and one more than the 32-strong BJP camp.

“We cannot reveal right now who all are with us. We are giving Kejriwal’s government 48 hours to act in people’s interest,” Iqbal said but didn’t clarify whether they would wait till the February 13 special session or submit a no-confidence memorandum to the lieutenant governor.

Iqbal said the government had forgotten the promises it had made. “They had promised 50 per cent reduction in electricity bills. They never specified that it was conditional and only for those who consume less than 400 units.”

The government has halved power tariffs for consumers who use below 400 units and announced a little less than 700 litres of free water for residents every day.

Iqbal also said the government’s “attempt to rein in the water tanker mafia” had led to a situation in which most parts of Delhi is not getting water. The government does not have enough tankers and private tankers are usually pressed into service. Since the government came to power, these private tankers have been taken off.

AAP leader Sanjay Singh said the BJP and the Congress had “joined hands” and were trying to “pull us down because our popularity is growing”.