The BJP expects to form the government in Delhi before Parliament opens for the budget session in the second week of July, HT has learnt.
HT wrote on Tuesday that the majority view in the party was veering towards seeking support of turncoat Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators to come to power in the Capital.
“We should have our government in Delhi before Parliament’s budget session begins,” a top BJP leader told HT on condition of anonymity.
The party has also zeroed in on Satish Upadhyay to replace health minister Harsh Vardhan as the Delhi BJP president. Upadhyay is the chairman of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s standing committee.
Delhi has been without an elected government after AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal quit as chief minister on February 14. Lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung then recommended President’s rule. The Centre has kept the assembly in suspended animation to allow other parties to muster numbers to form government at a later date.
The BJP was initially reluctant to make its move, concerned that it could expose the party to criticism that it was encouraging horse-trading. But with legislators desperate to avoid a fresh round of elections, a senior BJP leader said there was a real risk of AAP and Congress MLAs coming together.
Most of the party MLAs were pressuring the leadership to form the government, a BJP leader indicated.
A 3.6% increase in AAP’s vote share in the Lok Sabha election vis-a-vis its performance in assembly polls, a further slide in Congress’s support base and a real possibility of not repeating its national election performance in the state polls seems to have dominated the BJP’s thinking.
The 70-member House’s effective strength has been reduced to 67 following the resignation of three BJP MLAs who have been elected to the Lok Sabha. The BJP along with partner Shriomani Akali Dal has 29 MLAs and is five short of the majority mark of 34.
The party, said a BJP source, could manage the numbers by roping in some Congress and AAP MLAs willing to back a BJP-led government. The BJP is also counting on the support of Mundka MLA Rambir Shokeen, an Independent, and expelled AAP legislator Vinod Kumar Binny.