Now, Prashant Bhushan says AAP won’t give support to BJP

Hours after claiming that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) could lend support to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Delhi if its ‘demands are met’, senior member Prashant Bhushan has taken a U-turn and said there was no question of any such possibility.

By Hemant Abhishek | Updated: Dec 10, 2013, 12:27 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Hemant Abhishek and Deepak Nagpal

New Delhi: Hours after claiming that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) could lend support to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Delhi if its ‘demands are met’, senior member Prashant Bhushan has taken a U-turn and said there was no question of any such possibility.

The Aam Aadmi Party will not give or take support either from the BJP or the Congress, Bhushan said, diminishing any remote possibility of Delhi getting a government anytime soon after the recent Assembly elections returned a hung House.

“We came up as an alternative for people to both Congress and BJP. We will not give or seek support from any,” Bhushan told reporters.

The BJP, which had hoped to return to power in Delhi after being in the opposition for 15 long years, has called a meeting of its legislators Tuesday.

While Bhushan had hinted at aligning with the BJP (his personal views), the one-year-old AAP’s oficial position has been that it would prefer to be in the opposition or face the electorate again — if that would bring a clear result.

AAP leaders like Manish Sisodia and Arvind Kejriwal have said that they would prefer a re-election than to side with either the Congress or the BJP and helm together an uncertain coalition.

But Bhushan was quoted by reports as saying, "If the BJP agrees to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill by December 29 and set up jan sabhas and other things in Delhi as promised by the Aam Aadmi Party.....and is willing to give this to us in writing, then we may consider supporting the party."

He had however followed this up quickly by saying this was his `personal` view that was yet to be vetted by his party.

One in favour of an AAP-BJP alliance, activist and former IPS officer Kiran Bedi, said the Delhi verdict was against the Congress and people had voted both for the BJP and the AAP. And so, the two parties should explore the possibility of forming a government on the basis of a common minimum programme, she suggested.

Bharatiya Janata Party`s (BJP) chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan however hadn’t warmed up to the idea until late Monday and said the party did not have the necessary support to form a government — it is four short of a majority (after the Akali Dal candidate`s support is taken into consideration) — and he was not interested in talking to any other party.

Harsh Vardhan had categorically said, “We don`t have the numbers in Delhi, so we can`t form the government.”

He denied allying with anyone at this point in time and said, "We are not interested in talking to anyone. We are not in talks with anybody, nor are we interested." He also made it clear the BJP would not resort to wooing legislators of other parties.

Former BJP president and party’s Delhi in-charge, Nitin Gadkari, felt the ball was in Lt Governor Najeeb Jung’s court and he was waiting to hear from him. It was the saffron party`s responsibility to give a popular government to the people of Delhi, he said, and added, "We will find a solution and try our level best to (form) a government.”

Meanwhile, union Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Lt Governor would explore all options of forming a new government. "As of now, the home ministry has no role in it," Shinde told reporters.

The BJP Sunday won 31 seats in the Delhi Assembly and has the support of a lone Shiromani Akali Dal member. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won 28 seats in its maiden electoral debut. The Congress ended with just eight legislators.

A BJP rebel and a Janata Dal-United candidate also won. The latter has refused to back the BJP.

Outgoing Congress chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who herself lost to AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, ruled out joining hands with the greenhorn party. She said the AAP had declared it didn`t need any support.

Constitutional experts said convention demanded that Lt Governor Jung ask the single largest party to try forming a government. If the BJP refused, then AAP could be given a chance, said former Lok Sabha secretary PDT Achary.

SK Sharma, a former secretary in the Delhi Assembly, added that the house may be kept under suspended animation or may be dissolved if none of the parties formed a government.

Official sources said if no party is in a position to form a government, Jung would send a report to the home ministry.

They said if Jung suggests imposition of President`s rule, the home ministry will move the cabinet which will take an appropriate decision.

If President`s rule is imposed in Delhi, all executive powers will vest with the Lt Governor for six months until a new government is formed or a fresh election is held.