BJP leaders give mixed signals on govt formation in city

Delhi BJP leaders gave mixed signals over government formation in the capital, with one group claiming that the Delhi Assembly may be heading for dissolution over the next month and the other talking of a party-led minority government taking oath in the coming days.

On Tuesday, the apex court was told by the central government that Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung was awaiting President Pranab Mukherjee’s nod to invite Bharatiya Janata Party – single largest party in the legislature – to seek their interest in forming the government.

A former Delhi BJP vice-president, however, said if the President does not show the green light to Jung, announcement on the dissolution of the House may come around October 10 hearing in the Supreme Court over government formation.

He claimed that dissolution of the Assembly need not mean immediate polls as the constitution allows extension of the President’s rule up to three years.

“The BJP-led central government may continue to manage the affair in the city,” he said. Another section of BJP leaders, however, claimed there were chances of the BJP forming a minority government – just as the Aam Aadmi Party did in December 2013 with it 28 MLAs. 

If the President gives the go-ahead to Jung to explore government formation possibilities by inviting the BJP – which has 28 legislators – the saffron party may take on the challenge.

 “The big question before the BJP will not be to form a minority government but to sustain it over a long period. The minority government may have a fate similar to the 49-day AAP government,” he said.

He, however, said the cracks within the AAP may encourage the BJP to take the last step to regain power in the city after 15 years.

Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay said the party was ready to fight fresh elections but if Jung asks us about our interest in government formation we will “analyse our strength”.

Yet another view within the Delhi BJP is that if the party refuses to form a government, then Jung may invite the second largest party – which is the AAP with 27 MLAs – to explore possibilities of government formation.

“We missed the bus once by citing lack of numbers but at the same time the AAP lapped up the opportunity the last time. It would not be wise to let the AAP have a go at government formation once again,” said a BJP legislator.

He admitted that the choice of a leader of the BJP’s legislature party would also be tricky with many contenders in the race.

“The decision on leader of legislature party has to be taken soon. The Lieutenant Governor will invite the leader to know his interest in government formation,” he said.

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