Suspense over new government in Delhi persists

Suspense over government formation in Delhi after assembly polls delivered a hung house continued on Monday.

Suspense over government formation in Delhi after assembly polls delivered a hung house continued Monday, with the AAP insisting on playing the opposition’s role and the BJP, the single largest party, uncertain on how to cobble a majority in the 70-member house.

Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan said the party did not have the necessary support to form a government — it is four short of a majority (after the Akali Dal candidate’s support is taken into consideration) — and he was not interested in talking to any other party.

“We don’t have the numbers in Delhi, so we can’t form the government,” Harsh Vardhan told IANS Monday evening. “We are not interested in talking to anyone. We are not in talks with anybody, nor are we interested.”

He also made it clear the BJP would not resort to wooing legislators of other parties.

Meanwhile, union Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung would explore all options of forming a new government. “As of now, the home ministry has no role in it,” Shinde told reporters here.

The BJP Sunday won 31 seats in the Delhi assembly and has the support of a lone Shiromani Akali Dal member. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won 28 seats in its maiden electoral debut. The Congress ended with just eight legislators.

A BJP rebel and a Janata Dal-United candidate also won. The latter has refused to back the BJP.

Former BJP president Nitin Gadkari said earlier it was the saffron party’s responsibility to give a popular government to the people of Delhi. “We will find a solution and try our level best to (form) a government,” Gadkari said.

The BJP, which hoped to return to power in Delhi after being in the opposition for 15 long years, has called a meeting of its legislators Tuesday.

The one-year-old AAP said categorically that it would prefer to be in the opposition or face the electorate again — if that would bring a clear result.

AAP leader Manish Sisodia said they would prefer a re-election to putting together an uncertain coalition.

“We are going to sit in the opposition. There is no need for wait and watch,” AAP’s national executive member Pankaj Gupta told IANS. “As of now, nobody can form a government.”

Outgoing Congress chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who herself lost to AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, ruled out joining hands with the greenhorn party. She said the AAP had declared it didn’t need any support.

Constitutional experts said convention demanded that Lt. Governor Jung ask the single largest party to try forming a government. If the BJP refused, then AAP could be given a chance, former Lok Sabha secretary P.D.T. Achary told IANS.

S.K. Sharma, a former secretary in the Delhi assembly, added that the house may be kept under suspended animation or may be dissolved if none of the parties formed a government.

Official sources said if no party is in a position to form a government, Jung would send a report to the home ministry.

They said if Jung suggests imposition of President’s rule, the home ministry will move the cabinet which will take an appropriate decision.

If President’s rule is imposed in Delhi, all executive powers will vest with the Lt. Governor for six months until a new government is formed or a fresh election is held.

Activist and former IPS officer Kiran Bedi, a former associate of Kejriwal, said the Delhi verdict was against the Congress and people had voted both for the BJP and the AAP. And so, the two parties should explore the possibility of forming a government on the basis of a common minimum programme, she suggested.


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