iconimg Sunday, August 30, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 11, 2013
Uncertainty and confusion over the formation of a new government in Delhi continued on Tuesday with both the BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) expressing reluctance and President’s rule looking more and more like the only option. A humbled Congress offered unconditional support to AAP as a possible way out of the deadlock but the Arvind Kejriwal-led party stuck to its stand of not entering into an alliance with either the BJP or the Congress.

The BJP held a series of meetings through the day and elected its chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan as its legislature party leader, but did not change its decision not to stake claim.

“It is a sad situation for us and the residents of Delhi, but due to present technicalities, the government cannot be formed with a fractured mandate. We don’t have the numbers to form a stable government and we are ready to fight elections once again, if such a situation arises,” Vardhan told reporters.

Read: Congress first offers support to AAP, then taunts it

The BJP, along with ally Shiromani Akali Dal’s one seat, has 32 MLAs in the 70-member House. The AAP has 28 and the Congress eight.

For now, the BJP appears to have decided to put the onus of a near-certain re-election on AAP — it pointed to the Congress’ offer to back the rookie party.

This drew a sharp retort from Kejriwal: “The BJP is the single largest party and it should try to form the government with Congress support.”

The BJP strategy will be to inform Delhi’s lieutenant governor, Najeeb Jung, that it does not have the required numbers and to leave it to him to take a decision. It does not appear to be in a hurry to take a shot at power — even though it has waited 15 years for this opportunity.

Read: After Capital, AAP sets its sights on Haryana, Rajasthan

In Karnataka, the saffron party had in the past engineered resignations from Congress and JD(S) MLAs and formed the government with their support, later getting them elected on its symbol.

Read: Congress can break logjam without voting for BJP

But with Lok Sabha elections just months away, it is wary of trying this in Delhi and would rather take the moral high ground.

For the Congress, the view within the party is to avoid a re-poll. “Some of our leaders have suggested that we should provide unconditional outside support to AAP to keep communal forces at bay and also to prevent the burden of a re-poll,” party general secretary Shakeel Ahmed told HT.

Read: Why AAP is shy of forming govt

Read: Congress can break logjam without voting for BJP

“I held a meeting with the eight MLAs who said they would abide by the high command’s decision, which will be taken after the Congress president returns from South Africa,” he added.

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