L-G’s letter has no mention of ‘secret ballot’ to choose leader of the assembly

  • HT Correspondent, None, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 11, 2014 00:38 IST

The option of Delhi legislators voting in a secret ballot to elect the leader of the house does not arise as Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has not sought advice on this issue from the President, top sources in the Delhi government and the Union home ministry told HT.

The BJP had reportedly been exploring the option of using Section 175 of the Constitution and Section 9(2) of the NCT Act to support their claim that a “secret
ballot” was possible.

Both these laws allow the Governor to “send a message” to the Assembly, which will then convene and consider the message. Section 9(2) of the NCT Act says, “The Lieutenant-Governor may send messages to the Assembly, whether with respect to a Bill then pending in the Assembly or otherwise, and when a message is so sent the Assembly shall, with all convenient dispatch, consider any matter required by the message to be taken into consideration.”

Now in view of the fact that the L-G has sought the President’s advice only on inviting the single largest party to form the government, the option of MLAs electing the leader by a secret ballot is completely ruled out.

It is understood that the L-G can only send a ‘secret message’ to the Speaker in case of a constitutional crisis similar to Jung’s message to then Speaker MS Dhir not allowing the then CM Arvind Kejriwal table the Lokpal Bill on ultra vires grounds.

Further, the L-G, in a brief meeting with Kejriwal on Wednesday, refused to revise his letter to the President. The L-G rejected AAP’s plea that in view of a latest sting operation, the BJP should not be allowed to form the government. But the L-G appears to be in no mood to amend his letter to the President, which was drafted after consulting top legal experts including Soli Sorabjee.

The BJP, on the other hand, is yet to finalise its response in the event of the party getting a formal invite by the L-G. Though party’s MLAs are pressuring the top leadership to accept the invitation, senior leaders are not too sure on taking this route as Kejriwal will use the debate on the motion of confidence to launch a direct attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Some leaders feel that the party’s state unit lacks the artillery to match Kejriwal’s histrionics.

Top BJP leaders feel that instead of being accused of horse-trading, the state unit should prepare for elections.

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