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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Congress may agree to re-poll in Delhi

Atul Mathur, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 15, 2014
First Published: 00:48 IST(15/4/2014) | Last Updated: 12:18 IST(15/4/2014)

Despite an internal assessment that its traditional vote bank continues to gravitate to the Aam Aadmi Party, the Congress party is now gearing up for fresh polls in the Capital.

Sources said the party is likely to apprise the Supreme Court that the possibility of a “secular government” being formed in Delhi now looks bleak and thus it was not averse to the idea of re-election in the Capital.

The Congress till now had insisted that the Delhi Assembly had been constituted on a five-year mandate and it was too early to close the option of political alliance to stake claim.

Sources said the party has a “change in mind” now and it was open for fresh polls. Congress general secretary and Delhi in-charge Shakeel Ahmed had also told Hindustan Times early this month that the Lieutenant Governor should reassess the ground situation and re-consider the decision to keep the assembly in suspended animation.

Sources also said that the BJP may try to form government in Delhi after the Lok Sabha elections, a situation senior Congress leaders wish to avoid. The Congress did not want the assembly elections to happen simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections.

On last hearing early this month, the Supreme Court had given the Congress and the BJP two weeks to reply if either of them would like to form a government in Delhi. The Court had also asked the two parties if they were willing to join hands and form government in the Capital. The Court was hearing the petition filed by the Aam Aadmi Party challenging constitutional validity of promulgating President’s rule and keeping Delhi Assembly in suspended animation. The next date of hearing is April 17.

The 2013 Delhi Assembly elections had threw up a hung assembly. The BJP had emerged as the single largest party with 32 legislators, while the AAP had 28 members in the 70-member house. The Congress had won only eight seats. After the BJP expressed its inability to form the government citing inadequate numbers, the AAP formed government with outside support of eight Congress MLAs.

Delhi BJP chief Harsh Vardhan said party leaders were first busy with elections in Delhi, which happened on April 10, and were now travelling to other parts of the country where polling has yet to happen.

“We have all been busy with the elections. It did not occur to me that we have to submit our reply to the Court,” Vardhan said.


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