The BJP remained tight-lipped on taking a shot at power in Delhi on a day the Supreme Court was told that the President had accepted the L-G’s proposal to invite the largest party in the city to form the government.
Some BJP leaders appeared to be in favour of forming the government, but weren’t sure if the party would have the numbers to prove House majority, sources said Tuesday.
“We will take a decision at an appropriate time once the L-G invites us,” Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay said. According to government sources, lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung was expected to invite the BJP Wednesday.
The Capital has been under the President’s Rule after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) opted out on February 14, barely 49 days into power.
Saying that the President’s Rule could not go on forever, the apex court questioned the Centre’s failure to end the political stalemate.
“In a democratic polity people have a right to have a government and not be ruled by the president. Eight months down the line and nothing seems to be done. Why haven’t you given a definite stand so far?” a bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu asked the Centre’s senior law officer, additional solicitor general P Narasimha.
The bench said it would hear the petition filed by AAP seeking dissolution of the House even though the Centre and BJP resisted it.
Appearing for the BJP, senior advocate KK Venugopal said in the wake of President’s approval “the matter ended in entirety”. “The President has one full year to decide. There has been no delay,” he said.
The L-G, the court was told, had sent a report to the President last month seeking permission to invite the BJP.
Coming down hard on the Centre, the court said, “Just before matter is taken up for hearing, you make a statement. You throw a paper at us and then take time.” As it was handed over the President’s letter, the court said, “This exercise should have been done much earlier.” On August 5, the court had given the Centre five weeks’ time to take a decision on dissolving the assembly “one way or another”.
The strength of the 70-member House has been reduced to 67 after three BJP MLAs were elected to the Lok Sabha. The three seats go to the polls on November 25 and results declared on December 23.
The BJP, which emerged the single largest party after the polls in December with 31 seats, now has 28 MLAs and alliance partner Shiromani Akali Dal one. Together they are five short of the majority mark.
A couple of independent, Congress and AAP MLAs had earlier sent feelers to the BJP, but stepped back after not getting “adequate response”, sources said.
While most of the sitting BJP MLAs are in favour of forming the government, a majority of the councillors and MPs are for fresh elections.
“We are ready for elections. The Centre will take its decision once the L-G sends his recommendation... There is no question of forming a government by horse-trading,” senior party leader and union minister Venkaiah Naidu said.
Both the Congress and the AAP demanded fresh elections.