Will Delhi go for another round of elections or get a BJP government? The answer may come Tuesday when the Supreme Court hears the Centre’s response to a petition calling for an end to the political deadlock in the Capital.
The government is likely to tell the court that Delhi’s lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung would invite the largest party — the BJP — to form the government.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had on February 24 moved the court, challenging the imposition of the President’s rule. The party, which opted out after ruling Delhi for barely 49 days, has demanded that the assembly be dissolved and elections called. Hearing the petition on August 5, the court gave the Centre five weeks to reply.
According to sources, the BJP will form the government if it manages to get the numbers or Delhi may go to the polls early next year.
The effective strength of the 70-member Delhi assembly has been reduced to 67 after three BJP MLAs were elected to the Lok Sabha. The BJP and ally Shiromani Akali Dal now have 29 MLAs, AAP 28 and the Congress has eight. The Janata Dal (U) has one and there is an Independent member as well. The BJP needs 34 MLAs to come to power.
Saying MLAs couldn’t sit idle and draw salaries from taxpayers’ money, a constitution bench headed by justice HL Dattu had on August 5 questioned the Centre’s move to keep the assembly in suspended animation and asked it to either ensure an alternative government or dissolve the House.
“You are paying tax-payers’ money to elected law-makers. I’m a citizen of Delhi. I want them to serve me. Take a decision at the earliest,” justice Dattu, who will take over as the Chief Justice of India on September 28, had said.
Jung, who runs Delhi on behalf of the Centre, had on September 4 given a report to home minister Rajnath Singh on options available to end the six-month long impasse. Arvind Kejriwal had resigned as chief minister on February 14 after the assembly failed to take up a bill for setting up of the anti-corruption watchdog the lokpal.