Delhi stares at midterm polls

LG sends report to President after meeting all political parties

Delhi stares at midterm polls

Delhi came closer to midterm Assembly elections on Monday as Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung sent a report to President Pranab Mukherjee suggesting dissolution of the House after taking note of inability of all parties to form a government, said sources. 

Jung’s proposal for midterm polls was aimed at breaking the deadlock in Delhi, but there was no indication yet on when fresh elections might be held.  Voting could be held sometime early next year.

Sources said the official announcement on dissolution of the Assembly might be done before the November 25 by-polls in three seats. But, no time frame has been given. “The LG’s report may reach the President’s table in a day or two, and the countdown for fresh elections may begin this week itself,” said an official source.

A statement issued by Raj Niwas said Jung held consultations with the leaders of political parties to “explore the possibility of government formation”. During the day, Jung’s attempts to hold talks with leaders of the three key parties—the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)—did not yield much. All the parties said they were not in a position to form government or support any other group.

The 70-member Assembly, whose current strength is 67, has been under suspended animation since February 15.  The BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal combine has 29 seats in the House. The AAP, the second-largest party, has 27 MLAs. The Congress has eight members. There are three others.

Jung began his day by talking to Delhi BJP leader Satish Upadhyay and legislator Jagdish Mukhi around noon. Congress Legislature Party leader Haroon Yusuf met him around 3 pm. AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal and leader Manish Sisodia were the last to meet Jung around 6 pm.

Upadhyay told reporters that his party had submitted its stand to the Lieutenant Governor on the matter of government formation. Yusuf said, “We have told the Lieutenant Governor that the Congress wants fresh elections along with Assembly polls in Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir.”

Sisodia said the party’s stand has not changed since February. “We want the Delhi Assembly to be dissolved. It is the BJP which has taken eight months to come to the same conclusion.”

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