No party could have formed the Delhi government without getting off the starting blocks hobbled by allegations of impropriety and horse trading. So, it is appropriate that the Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has recommended fresh elections, which has been endorsed by the Cabinet. This, of course, means a huge outlay of resources but the Capital cannot any longer be allowed to function on auto pilot. It is a pity that AAP, which got a stab at power, seemed so eager to relinquish it on what appeared spurious grounds, thereby creating this situation in which the Capital has not had a functioning government for many months. The L-G has explored all options before recommending the dissolution of the assembly but there will be rumblings about his motivations. If things had gone according to script, AAP would probably have emerged as a new force in politics. Its later showing in the polls suggests that it did not consolidate enough in the areas where it sprung a surprise and humbled political stalwarts from other parties, the most notable being Delhi’s then Congress chief minister Sheila Dikshit.
The BJP is not complaining as it feels that its splendid all-India showing and its latest triumph in Maharashtra will power its sails in the Delhi elections. It is in poll-ready mode and Delhi would really be the jewel in the crown of the BJP. As of now, the Congress is not brimming with confidence, struggling as it is with its own internal lethargy and lack of direction. The Capital has many problems. It is facing an acute space crunch thanks to migration, many areas lack even basic infrastructure, its sanitation is in the doldrums and of late, there have been incidents of communal violence in pockets. All this requires a firm and uncompromising government.
AAP seems, somewhat unrealistically, confident that its mass campaign will see it through. But many are disappointed at the manner in which it frittered away the mandate that it was given last time around. In the interim, unfortunately, AAP has seen desertions and Arvind Kejriwal himself came in for a lot of criticism as did his loyalists like Somnath Bharti. But that is in the past and, hopefully, everyone has moved on. Rationalising power and water was an issue which really struck a chord with the people in the last elections. The soaring crime rates are another source of concern. Whoever gets the prize of Delhi will not find the going easy. They will have to get down to business quickly to make for a great deal of lost time.