By Kalyani Shankar
Will Delhi go for fresh polls or is the BJP in a position to give a stable government? After the people of Delhi chose a hung Assembly, the Capital does not have a popular government since 17 February when the Aam Aadmi party chief Kejriwal resigned as chief minister claiming he was not allowed to get the Jan Lokpal bill passed. Now grapevine has it that there is a divided opinion in the BJP which emerged as a single largest party whether to go for fresh polls or form a government if the Lt Governor Najeeb Jung invites it. The Lt Governor is in the process of inviting the political parties to explore the possibilities.
Ironically the person who is protesting the most is the AAP chief Kejriwal who has gone to the court seeking fresh elections. He was also crying wolf that the BJP was poaching on his legislators and trying to buy them. Had he remained the chief minister this would not have happened. He knew that he could not fulfill the rash promises like reducing the price of electricity and free water and hence he ran away from the scene. The AAP party is slowly losing its sheen and people now realize their mistake. If Kejriwal hopes that his last time performance will be repeated, he would be in for disappointment.
The number game in the present Delhi Assembly, which is under suspended animation, shows that it will be difficult for any party to give a stable government unless it indulges in some horse-trading. BJP leaders who are in favor of forming the government do not have an answer as to how they could get the magic number without poaching on other parties. They think that after the bye- elections they will get three more seats and just before or after the polls they can form the government.
The party at present is well short of the half way mark in the Assembly (current strength is 67) with 28 of its own and one from its ally the Akali Dal. Even if the two independents and a JD (U) MLA were to support the BJP, it still needs two more MLAs. BJP leaders who think rationally want fresh polls but demand that it should be in February. This section is also enthused after the recent spectacular victory in the Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly polls. The RSS, which had earlier expressed fears that a fresh poll may not favor the party, has now advised the BJP to go in for fresh elections.
While formally seeking fresh polls, both the AAP and the Congress are worried now after the BJP’s success in the Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly polls. Both think that they may not improve their earlier tally.
The Lt Governor is going by the rulebook by seeking the President’s nod to invite the single largest party (BJP) to form the government. Some naysayers look at this as a delaying tactic rather than a definite plan to end the current impasse. The LG would not have sought the President’s permission without the nod form the Ministry of Home affairs and the Prime minister. Since the Supreme Court is breathing down the Centre’s neck this could be to assure that efforts are being made to form a popular government.
Perhaps seeing through the game the Supreme court pulled up the centre pointing out that the people of Delhi have a right to an elected government and the centre cannot go on delaying the exercise forever. Meanwhile three Assembly seats – Krishna nagar, Mehrauli and Thuglakabad will go for bye-elections next month after three BJP MLAs became M.Ps. The BJP may win all three in view of the present favorable atmosphere.
The problem has arisen because the Centre is not able to make up its mind whether to allow the formation of the BJP government or opt for fresh polls. Many BJP leaders feel that had there been fresh elections soon after the fall of the Kejriwal’s 49-day government the BJP would have come back successfully riding on the Modi wave. Now some think that the party needs time to prepare, as the price rise and inflation have not come down.
The AAP chief had gone to the court seeking fresh polls after which the Supreme Court on August 5 gave the centre five weeks to come up with a decision on Delhi polls but the centre has been seeking extension after extension which has exasperated the Supreme Court to make harsh comments. While the centre thinks that court should not interfere when the Parliament had ratified the President’s rule in Delhi until February. There could be constitutional crisis if the court orders fresh polls on the petition of Kejriwal.
To avoid all these the BJP should opt for fresh polls. It is not only democratic but also bring out a clear picture. First of all the Modi magic continues going by the recent Assembly poll results. The momentum is intact. Secondly, Prime Minister Modi has been expressing lofty ideals and forming even a minority government would only result in instability. Thirdly, the composition of the present Assembly makes it clear unless there is horse trading, the BJP cannot get the number.
There is no doubt that Delhi needs a popular and stable government as it will be almost one year if elections are held in February. There are many problems including crime, pollution, water and electricity shortage. The capital needs a popular government. The only danger is that the people of Delhi should not elect a hung Assembly again if they want stability. (IPA Service)