Assembly elections: Delhi's moment of reckoning

  • Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Sep 09, 2014 03:06 IST

In all the hype and hoopla over the general elections, the governance of Delhi seems to have fallen through the cracks. But, now the moment of reckoning is here.

There are many aspirants for the seats in government, but there is no one who is a clear winner. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had a chance, which it blew. The Congress has no hope in hell. The BJP is willing, it would seem, but lacks the numbers. Given the lack of numbers that all the parties have, any government formed now will lack the legitimacy that is required to rule a state.

Delhi cannot escape particular scrutiny, being the Capital city. It is the seat of power in India and there are no two ways about that. AAP had a good shot at power at a time when the people really seemed to yearn for a new kind of governance, a more people-oriented one. But apart from agitprop, the people got nothing much beyond close-up shots of the chief minister protesting on the streets and sleeping in a quilt on the pavement. The Capital has a large number of issues that need to be dealt with. It has huge crime issues, safety of women being one of them. It has a serious problem of infrastructure not being available to cope with its huge population, which grows by the day thanks to migrants. All this suggests that the Capital needs a functioning government and not be made a political football by the parties vying to capture the seat of power.

The BJP has by all accounts the largest number but again not enough to form the government without attracting the independents, or as some would call it horse-trading. The BJP has also shot itself in the foot by saying that despite being the single-largest party, it would not form the government since it did not have the numbers. This was at the end of last year. Nothing has changed except some of its members have been elected to Parliament. It is painful, but it does seem that there is no option to a fresh round of elections. It is expensive and time-consuming, but the Capital must have a government that is seen to be legitimate and functioning to everyone. AAP has already sought fresh elections and it will be an obstructionist force if the BJP were to cobble together the numbers. Delhi, which was used to a great deal of attention, has been left unattended for too long. The spring in the step of the new government cannot last for long unless governance in Delhi, from whichever political formation, gives it a bit of a leg up.

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