The fractured mandate delivered by Delhi has shifted the spotlight from political parties to Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Najeeb Jung and raised intriguing questions about government formation in the national capital.
The two largest parties, BJP and AAP, are more keen on sitting in the opposition rather then staking claim to form government after falling short of clear majority. The rule book says that if no political party comes ahead to form government, the President will issue an order for proclamation of the President’s Rule.
Former Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Vijay Kapoor said that in the current scenario, the L-G should call the leader of the single largest party to form government and also ask whether he is in position to form government. “The leader of the single largest party can respond to the L-G invite immediately or take some time. If he declines to form government, then the L-G should call the second largest party to form government and if he also refuses, then the L-G sends a report to President explaining the scenario and seeking take necessary action,” Kapoor told dna.
The L-G can send a report to the President under Article 239 (A)(B), which is similar to Article 356 meant for states. “On the recommendation of the union government, the President can impose President’s rule in Delhi,” Kapoor added.
The constitution also provides for the assembly to elect its leader. Constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap said that if no party comes forward to form government, the L-G can direct the House to elect its leader. “Under article 175, the L-G has the power to direct the house to elect its leader and appoint the leader of assembly as chief minister. If the chief minister fails to prove his majority then he recommends President’s rule,” he added.
Kashyap said that as soon as the results were declared and the election certificates given to the newly elected members, the new assembly was deemed to have come into existence.
“Irrespective of whether or not the new members had taken the oath of office, the L-G could dissolve the assembly or keep it under suspended animation if no party is able to form government. Although there is no time limit on keeping the House under suspended animation, it should not exceed a reasonable period,” Kashyap said.
He also clarified that there is no written rule on inviting the single largest party or the second largest party to form the government. “It is just a convention which is being followed throughout the country,” he said.
The L-G can also straightway recommend the dissolution of the House if he does not see any possibility of government formation in the near future.“It is for the President to accept or reject the decision,” Kashyap added.