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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Congress wants swift Delhi election after LS polls

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 02, 2014
First Published: 00:30 IST(2/4/2014) | Last Updated: 01:29 IST(2/4/2014)

Delhi may be heading towards early Assembly polls.

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The BJP’s recent indication that it would be in a position to form the Delhi government after the national polls apparently triggered panic in the Congress and forced a “change of heart” on Tuesday.

The party said it would request Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung to re-consider his recommendation to keep the Assembly under suspended animation and is now keen to go for fresh polls.

The Centre, and the Congress had so far insisted that the Delhi Assembly had been constituted in early December on a five-year mandate and it was too early to close the option of another political party or alliance to stake claim.

Shakeel Ahmad, the Congress general secretary in-charge of Delhi, indicated the party had changed its stance. “It may be time that the L-G re-consider his decision to keep the Delhi assembly in suspended animation after re-assessing the ground situation,” Ahmad told HT.

The shift – that came a day after the Supreme Court gave two weeks to both the Congress and the BJP to reply if either of them would like to form a government in Delhi -- raised the possibility of assembly dissolution and holding of fresh elections in the city-state after the Lok Sabha polls.

The apex court had also asked the two parties if they were willing to come together to form the government.

The senior Congress leader said there was no way that the Congress and the BJP could come together to form a government.

 “We are poles apart. There are basic ideological differences. We can’t even think of joining hands with the BJP,” he said.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had approached the Supreme Court, questioning the constitutional validity of imposing President’s Rule and keeping the assembly in suspended animation.

The broad thinking in the Congress is that the AAP stands “discredited” among the people after its chief minister Arvind Kejriwal resigned from the post on February 14 over the Janlokpal bill, ruling the national capital for 49 days.

“It’s a win-win situation for Congress. We didn’t want Delhi elections simultaneously with Lok Sabha polls. We were sure that the AAP bubble would burst sooner than later,” said another party strategist. “People of Delhi will never forgive Kejriwal and his team for running away from governance in 49 days.”


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