Time for fresh elections in Delhi

The Delhi BJP make a move to form government after the AAP government resigned

When an election throws up a hung verdict, a state governor or lieutenant-governor — as is the case with Delhi — will be wise to allow time for political forces to thrash out issues and see if it is feasible to form a stable government. Needless to say, the wait cannot be indefinite.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to report to it within a month (October 10) the status of political efforts being made in the backdrop of L-G Najeeb Jung recommending to President Pranab Mukherjee the formation of a government based on the current strength of the various parties in the Assembly.

The state poll of December 2013 produced no clear winner. The BJP was the largest party but short of a majority. The Aam Aadmi Party had done sensationally but had a few seats less than the BJP. Eventually, it formed the government with the help of the Congress. But Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, making a wrong call, resigned two months later in February and recommended dissolution of the House.

The L-G was right not to pay heed to it and to give time to political parties to explore the formation of a fresh government from within the same Assembly. Mr Kejriwal had been thrown into a minority when he recommended dissolution. The L-G would have been remiss if he had accepted the view of the outgoing CM who had forfeited his majority.

Seven months down the road, Mr Jung does need to take a fresh look at the situation. While he has virtually craved the ruling party at the Centre to let its Delhi unit take a shot at power, and form a minority government if possible, he cannot overlook the fact that not once did the Delhi BJP make any move to form government after the AAP government resigned. This is a leading fact. It is also a leading fact that the BJP, although it is the largest presence in the Assembly, made no moves to form government before Mr Kejriwal threw his hat in the ring after much hesitation.

The BJP’s election committee, on which are represented Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as party chief Amit Shah and Union home minister Rajnath Singh, is to take a call on the saffron party forming a government in Delhi. Before this can happen, the state vice-president of the BJP is alleged to have lured MLAs of other parties, especially the AAP, with crores of rupees to come to the saffron party’s help in forming government.

The AAP has gone to the apex court with a video of the alleged bribe and urged President Mukherjee not to permit political horse-trading. The atmosphere is muddied. Now it is time fresh elections were called.

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