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Delhi stalemate puts 6 first-time MLAs on sticky wicket

Saturday, 14 December 2013 - 1:51pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

The stalemate over the formation of a government in Delhi has put six municipal councillors in an odd spot.

An independent and five BJP councillors have been elected for the Delhi assembly, and are uncertain if they should resign as councillors or withdraw from the assembly seat considering the deadlock is most likely to lead to President’s rule in the national capital.

According to rules, a newly-elected MLA cannot hold two positions in legislative bodies, and must therefore resign from either of the two bodies within 14 days of notification of an assembly election’s result. The Election Commission issued a notification for the fifth Delhi Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.

The BJP, which won 32 seats in the assembly has told Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung that it won’t form a government in Delhi. Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party, which won 28 seats, met Jung earlier this morning and sought time to revert on government formation; his party has written to Congressand BJP presidents asking what their stand on 18 issues is.

Jung, meanwhile, has indicated that he will send a government formation report to the president, which will pave the way for President’s rule in Delhi. These developments mean time is running out for the councillor-MLAs. The six have until December 24 to decide if they want to continue in the civic corporations or be in the state assembly.

“We are waiting for the party’s instructions,” said BJP MLA and Leader of House in the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, Dr Mahendra Nagpal. “The situation is uncertain and the party leadership will soon take a call on our membership.”

While Nagpal may be patient, others appear to be eager for a bigger role as they have already served long stints and held senior positions in the civic bodies. “The party had entrusted the councillors with the responsibility to represent BJP in the Assembly. It will be unjust to resign from the membership of Assembly which got a fractured mandate. We are hopeful to retain our seats if Delhi goes for re-election,” said another MLA, who did not want to be named.

The other BJP councillor-MLAs are Ram Kishan Singhal, Rajesh Gehlot, Anil Sharma and Jitender Singh Shunty. Singhal is currently the chairman of the Standing Committee in the North Delhi Corporation; Gehlot is also the chairman of the Standing Committee in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation while Sharma, who had served as the deputy mayor of the erstwhile MCD, is an SDMC councillor.

The sixth person, Vinod Kumar Binny is an independent councilor who defeated Congress heavyweight AK Walia from Laxmi Nagar constituency on an Aam Aadmi Party ticket.

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