“My cabinet has decided that we are quitting. Here is my resignation letter,” Kejriwal told supporters of his fledgling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the capital, brandishing a white sheet of paper.
“Straight after this, I am going to the Lieutenant Governor’s office to hand in my resignation,” he added, as his followers cheered.
Kejriwal, who had been the head of a minority administration since taking power on 28 December, said he would ask Lt governor Najeeb Jung to immediately dissolve the Delhi assembly and organise fresh elections.
Kejriwal’s announcement came shortly after local legislators effectively shot down his efforts to bring in anti-corruption legislation — the key plank of his manifesto in December’s state elections.
Kejriwal’s party won 28 seats in Delhi’s 70 member assembly and came to power with the help of the Congress party, which governs at national level.
But Congress decided not to back Kejriwal in Friday’s vote, claiming the measure was unconstitutional.
While his elevation to one of the most important political posts in India was initially widely welcomed as a much-needed shock to the system, the former tax inspector has since come in for criticism over a series of stand-offs with the authorities.
The self-styled “anarchist” staged a sit-in on the pavement close to the national parliament last month, triggering chaos in the city centre, as part of a push to be given greater powers of control over the police.