Uncertainty continues over government formation in Delhi

Delhi may be staring at the possibility of a spell of President`s rule with both the major parties BJP and AAP saying they will not stake claim to form the government as they do not have the mandate.

PTI| Updated: Dec 09, 2013, 22:03 PM IST

New Delhi: Delhi may be staring at the possibility of a spell of President`s rule with both the major parties BJP and AAP saying they will not stake claim to form the government as they do not have the mandate.

Hectic consultations were on in both parties a day after the assembly elections returned a split verdict that gave majority to none in the 70-member assembly.

While BJP emerged as single largest party winning 31 seats, its ally Akali Dal (Badal) bagged one constituency, leaving it four MLAs short of majority mark of 36.

AAP on the other hand bagged 28 seats followed by Congress with eight. JD-U won one seat while the Mundka seat was won by an Independent.

After a meeting of top party leaders at Arvind Kejriwal`s residence, AAP leader Yogendra Yadav said even if Lt Governor Najeeb Jung invites the party to form the government it will decline such an offer citing lack of majority.

"We are not going to form the government. We will sit in the opposition and play the role of a constructive opposition. As per the Constitution the largest party has to take the responsibility of forming government," Yadav said.

"We have not got majority so it is very surprising that the number one party (BJP) is not ready to form the government and telling us to do so," he said.

Kejriwal, who held another meeting with AAP`s newly elected MLAs to discuss strategy, said they would prefer to sit in the opposition and face elections if the situation warranted.

Both BJP and AAP asserted that they would neither extend nor take support from each other.

Amid uncertainty in Government formation, senior BJP leaders also held series of meetings and maintained their earlier position that the party will not stake claim to form a government as it was short of a clear majority.

"We have no numbers. We do not want to purchase any MLAs," former BJP president Nitin Gadkari, who is party in-charge of Delhi, said.

Sources said Gadkari discussed the issue with Narendra
Modi through teleconferencing and the common view in the party was that it should not resort to taking any unethical move.

"Obviously we do not have the numbers. We have 32 MLAs while we need support of 36 MLAs. Even if one of the unattached members support us or there is some repolarisation, the options are limited," senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said.

BJP`s Chief Ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan also echoed the same view saying the party will not form the government as people of Delhi did not give such a mandate.

"People of Delhi made us the single largest party. But they did not give us support to form the government. We do not believe in politics of horse trading. The ball is not in our court," he said, indicating that BJP may prefer to face fresh election if the stalemate continued.

The BJP has called a meeting of all newly elected MLAs tomorrow which will be attended by Gadkari, party`s DElhi unit president Vijay Goel and senior leader Thawarchand.

When asked whether Congress was open to extend support to AAP to form a government, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit referred to Kejriwal`s comment that his party will not take support of any party.

"AAP said they will not take support of Congress. It is their decision. We have not taken any decision on it," she said.

She said if there was no headway in government formation then there will be no option but to go for fresh polls.

Meanwhile Lt Governor Najeeb Jung held consultations with senior officials and experts including Delhi Assembly Secretary PN Mishra on the next course of action. Dikshit also paid a courtesy call on Jung.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the Lt Governor will explore all options of forming a new government before taking a call.