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Uncertainty in Delhi durbar

Uncertainty in Delhi durbar
Will Delhi have a new government or will it go for fresh polls? The capital may not be a full state as the Delhi assembly and government have only truncated powers, but it is politically important. Most right thinking people believe that fresh elections are the only answer to the present imbroglio. The sting video by the AAP party showing the BJP allegedly trying to lure its MLAs only reinforces this opinion. Nobody wants a fresh election so soon but it is clear that without resignations or defections no new government can be formed.

Delhi has been under the President’s rule since February 17 this year after AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal resigned as the Chief Minister protesting against the Lieutenant Governor Najib Jung’s refusal to allow the introduction of the ‘Janlokpal Bill’ in the Assembly. The capital is agog with rumors of the BJP toying with the idea of forming the government soon.  

The question is how will it take a plunge when it does not have the magic number? If it manages to poach on the legislators of other parties does it not amount to horse-trading? No doubt a minority government could be formed but will that government last? These are some of the questions that are being debated in the political circles. The final call has to be taken by Prime Minister Modi and his trusted aide and the new BJP chief Amit Shah.

The current position in the Assembly is like this- BJP had won 31 seats in the 70-member Assembly but the number of BJP MLAs came down to 28 as three party legislators Harsh Vardhan, Ramesh Bidhuri and Pervesh Verma had resigned from the Assembly after they were elected to Lok Sabha. The Aam Aadmi Party had won 28 seats in its debut Assembly elections and had later formed the government with outside support from Congress’ eight MLAs. The AAP had expelled one MLA.There is one independent and one JD (U) MLA.

No doubt moves are afoot in the BJP to gobble a government. Both the AAP and the Congress have been alleging that the BJP was trying to lure their MLAs. The Lt Governor is exploring the possibilities of a popular government in the present Assembly by inviting the single largest party- the BJP to form the government to avoid a fresh election. The Supreme Court has given another month to resolve the issue.

So all eyes are on BJP whether it will succumb to go for a government or it will reject the offer. The BJP, which is five legislators short of a majority, is reportedly looking at two options. A powerful section is strongly advocating for taking the plunge on the ground most BJP legislators do not want to face the elections so soon. This section believes that the Congress and the AAP would not dare to brig down that government because no legislator wants to go for polls. They argue that it will add one more state to the BJP kitty, which now rules in Goa, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Moreover the BJP had been out of power in Delhi for the past 15 years.

The other section fears that efforts to form government may end up being a misadventure and the party should stay away. They are not sure whether the BJP will get as many seats as of now in view of the rising prices and inflation.  After all soon after the Delhi Assembly polls, the BJP decided to be a principled party and did not form the government even though it emerged as s single largest party.  Nothing much has changed in the interim period.

This section wants the party to concentrate on the ensuing Assembly polls to Haryana, Jharkhand, and Maharashtra. They point out how the Party lost the by polls in Bihar and Jharkhand. Moreover, the BJP does not have a good chief ministerial candidate who can take control of the party and the new government.

Ironically, none of the three big parties- the BJP, the Congress or the AAP is in a position to improve their performance if fresh elections are held now. The AAP, which came up with a bang last year is slowly losing its sheen from the infighting within the party. Kejriwal is unable to keep his flock together. Even among the voters, the kind of euphemism exhibited earlier for the AAP has waned.
As for the Congress, it has no credible leader in the state and there is total demoralization after the 2014 poll debacle. The doomsayers fear that the party may be wiped out if elections are held now. 
However, both AAP and the Congress want to prevent the BJP from forming the government.

The BJP, which was euphoric after the spectacular Lok Sabha poll victory is not sure whether the Modi magic can work in the Delhi elections now.  The BJP high command is yet to form a view one way or the other.

In such a situation elections seem to be the fair option as any alternative would not give a stable government. The Lt. Governor should dissolve the Assembly and order fresh polls instead of experimenting with another fragile government which could encourage horse trading. People are fed up of this kind of horse trading and unfair means to gobble up a government. If PM Modi wants to retain the image he has built up, he should opt for polls and not for a fragile government. IPA
Kalyani Shankar

Kalyani Shankar

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