Dissolve Assembly

Dissolve Assembly

For a party that pulverised the opposition across the country and won all seven seats in the national capital in the recent Lok Sabha elections, the BJP appears surprisingly hesitant of facing fresh Assembly elections in Delhi.

The city has been under President's rule since February when Arvind Kejriwal's minority government resigned over its failure to introduce Aam Aadmi Party's signature Jan Lokpal Bill. In the 70-member Delhi Assembly, no party has the numbers to form a government on its own. The House remains in suspended animation.

MLAs draw their salaries, but sit at home – as the Supreme Court observed last week when it gave the BJP-led Union government five weeks to take a call on the Delhi imbroglio. If a government cannot be formed, fresh elections should be called, the court suggested.

The Centre might do well to act on the suggestion rather than defend its inaction at the next court hearing, or in Parliament when the extension of President's rule comes up for approval. The AAP might have lost much support in Delhi since the euphoric days leading up to the December 2013 Assembly elections, but it took the moral high ground by filing the plea in Supreme Court for fresh elections.  

The BJP, in contrast, has been giving out mixed signals at best. This has brought forth allegations of horse-trading. Both AAP with 27 MLAs and the Congress with a miniscule eight-member presence have accused the now 29-strong BJP-Akali Dal combine of trying to engineer defections. 

It is hard to miss a little irony here. During the long years of Congress-led rule at the Centre as well in Delhi, the BJP lobbied for full powers for the state government, rather than the current model in which some agencies report to the Centre. But it has been nearly six months of the Central rule now and the party doesn't seem to be complaining.

In fact, one newspaper quoted an unnamed party leader saying that major decisions are taken faster when all agencies report to the Lieutenant Governor. It is tempting for the BJP, comfortably in power at the Centre, to play a waiting game in Delhi.

But that seems like only delaying the inevitable. The Centre should take an early decision to dissolve the Delhi Assembly so that the city can go to the polls along with other states headed soon for Assembly elections.