Delhi seems to be clearly heading towards president’s rule as neither the single largest party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), nor the stellar debutante, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), is ready to form the government. Instead, both are “happy” to sit in the opposition.
All eyes are now set on Delhi’s lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung who has to invite the single largest party to form the government. But with both the BJP and the AAP reluctant, Jung may not have any other option but to recommend president’s rule.
The BJP has understood that the city’s throne is out of bounds and has thus decided to stay out of the government-formation race. A senior BJP leader said the party did the mathematics and looked at all scenarios.
“We with our ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) have managed only 32 seats — which is four short of simple majority in the 70-member Delhi legislative assembly,” he said. “If the lone independent MLA and the JD (U) member join us, even then our total would touch only 34 — which is still two short of the simple majority.”
To touch the magic figure of 36, the BJP has to take support from the Congress or the AAP.
“Politically it will be suicidal for the BJP to take help of these parties, especially with the Lok Sabha elections three-four months away. Anyway, the AAP has clearly said it will neither support nor seek anyone’s help,” the leader said.
A formal decision will be taken in the BJP’s legislative party meeting on Tuesday. Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel said BJP will neither support the AAP nor take its help in forming the government. “We fell short of majority and tomorrow [Tuesday] our legislative party will meet to elect its leader. If the AAP manages the numbers and prove its majority, we are ready to sit in opposition,” Goel said.
BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Dr Harsh Vardhan said his party would form a government in Delhi only if it could find support through the “natural process”.
BJP bigwigs feel the party should seek re-election. If party leaders try to form a government, they will be accused of indulging in unethical practices to grab power. President’s rule is a better option than forming a minority government.
If there is a re-election, it will most probably take place with the Lok Sabha elections and the BJP stands to gain from the “Narendra Modi wave”, the BJP leader said. Whereas if the BJP forms a government now, it could spoil the party’s Lok Sabha prospects.
The Aam Aadmi Party, meanwhile, has nothing to lose. Party’s CM candidate Arvind Kejriwal has already cleared it that the AAP will not form the government as its are not enough. Kejriwal has said he is ready to sit in the opposition.
An AAP leader said the party has a lot to gain and might even form the government if there is a re-election. “It might also help us in the Lok Sabha elections,” he said.
The 28 AAP candidates who won the elections met at the constitution club on Monday evening.
Though the Congress is now almost a non-player in the Delhi legislative assembly, some of its leaders, close to Kejriwal, are trying to forge an alliance with the AAP.
If the eight Congress candidates, who have won, support the AAP and Kejriwal accepts it, he can form the government. But Kejriwal has maintained that he will not go into an alliance with the Congress.
A senior Congress office-bearer said: “The Congress has already lost Delhi. If we give our eight seats to the AAP, we will lose our cadre base.”