Cabinet recommends Delhi Assembly dissolution

Cabinet recommends Delhi Assembly dissolution

The Union Cabinet on Tuesday recommended dissolution of the Delhi Assembly, paving the way for fresh elections, possibly early next year.

The decision came when Lt Governor (L-G) Najeeb Jung sent a report recommending this course of action after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress informed him about their inability to form government.

The recommendation to dissolve the Assembly came nine months after the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government called it quits on February 15, having been in power for just 49 days. The Election Commission (EC) will take a call on holding fresh elections.

After the President approves the dissolution, the EC will announce the cancellation of the by-elections to three seats where BJP MLAs had resigned after their election to the Lok Sabha.

The Centre’s decision raised political temperatures in the capital, with prominent leaders in Delhi calling press conferences to attack each other.

The AAP’s chief ministerial candidate Kejriwal sought to target the BJP, saying the Centre was forced to take the decision as its attempts to “poach” AAP MLAs did not succeed.
Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay said his party would contest under a collective leadership, and not declare any chief ministerial candidate.

However, the AAP chose to “declare” such a candidate for its opponent, naming senior BJP leader Jagdish Mukhi: AAP leader Ashutosh said Delhiites would have to decide between Kejriwal and Mukhi.

Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed said the Cabinet decision was “better late than never”. “It should have happened long ago, but the L-G, in his wisdom and on the BJP’s advice, tried to prolong it.”

Last December, the Congress was reduced to just eight seats in the 70-member Delhi Assembly, as the BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal combine emerged the single largest bloc with 32 MLAs, followed by the AAP with 28.

After the BJP decided against forming government, the AAP assumed power with the Congress’ outside support.

However, after Kejriwal’s resignation, the then UPA government put Delhi under President’s Rule and decided to keep the Assembly in suspended animation, as the Congress was not keen on simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha polls. This was the first time Delhi was put under President’s Rule since attaining statehood in 1993.

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