New Delhi: The hung verdict in Delhi Assembly polls has raised intriguing questions about government formation in the national capital.
With 31 seats, BJP on Sunday emerged as the single largest party but is still short of the majority mark of 36 in the 70-member Assembly. The second largest party is the fledgling Aam Admi Party with 28 followed by Congress with 8 seats. One seat each has gone to an Independent, JD(U) and Akali Dal, which is an ally of BJP.
The options for BJP are to either stake claim to form the government or wait for Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to invite its leader Harsh Vardhan to do so as leader of the single largest party.
However, the catch is that the Lt Governor is likely to ask a BJP government, so invited, to prove its majority in the house within a specified time. Given the composition of the House, it is unlikely that BJP would be able to prove its majority unless there are defections from the Congress or AAP which may not happen.
Vardhan, BJP`s Chief Ministerial candidate, tonight said he will not stake claim to form a government as his party is short of a clear majority and would prefer to sit in the opposition than indulging in any "horse trading".
"...Since I don`t have number I cannot stake my claim in forming my government in Delhi...Since I don`t have the magic number of 36, I really cannot be a part of the government formation in Delhi.
And honestly, I think selflessly, I prefer to sit in the opposition, try and help any government that is there in the offing by anyone and support them for the people`s cause," he said.
Echoing Vardhan`s views, Delhi BJP President Vijay Goel said the party will not resort to any unfair means to reach the magic figure of 36 and prefer to sit in the Opposition.
"We will not resort to any unfair means to get support of the required number of MLAs. The people of Delhi have given the verdict and we respect it. We will prefer to sit in opposition rather than forming a government through horse trading," Goel said.
Former BJP President and incharge of Delhi Nitin Gadkari
said, "We will form government if we get support in natural process. Otherwise we would like to sit in Opposition."
If there is no way out of the impasse, there may be a spell of the Lt Governor`s rule for a maximum of six months in one go which could be extended up to one year.
Talking about various options, a Constitutional expert said a lot would depend upon the discretion of Lt Governor and whom he invites to form the government.
Another expert, S K Sharma, former Director of Lok Sabha Secretariat, said in most likelihood the Lt Governor will invite the single largest party to form the government and give it a chance to prove majority on the floor of the House.
"The Supreme Court in the S R Bommai case had ruled that the House is the appropriate forum for proving the strength of any ruling party," Sharma said.
With AAP making it clear that it will play the role of a constructive opposition, roping in support from them may be difficult for BJP.
Sources in BJP said the Independent candidate from Mundka constituency Rambir Shokeen has indicated that he will extend support to BJP which will take its tally to 33.
One expert said a minority government may also function if AAP and Congress do not want to topple it.
The BJP may even try to get support of some Congress MLAs as getting three of Congress` nine MLAs will not invite provisions of anti-defection law.