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HindustanTimes Tue,30 Sep 2014

Delhi BJP chief meets Rajnath, says ready for polls

PTI  New Delhi, July 20, 2014
First Published: 12:46 IST(20/7/2014) | Last Updated: 20:05 IST(20/7/2014)

Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay on Sunday briefed senior party leader and union home minister Rajnath Singh about party MLAs' views on the current political situation in Delhi and is understood to have conveyed to him that cobbling together a government will not be a major challenge.

After nearly an hour-long meeting with Singh, Upadhyay said the party will decide whether to take a shot at government formation if it is invited to do so by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung.

"No proposal has come to us as yet on government formation. Whatever will be done will be as per the Constitution. We will take a decision on government formation if such a proposal comes to us," the newly-appointed Delhi BJP chief said.

Asked how BJP will manage the numbers as it will require the support of five more MLAs to prove majority in the Assembly, he only said the party will respond to the question if it gets an invite for government formation.

Currently, BJP, along with ally Akali Dal's lone MLA, has 29 legislators and will require the support of five more MLAs to prove majority in the 70-member Assembly. At present the effective strength of the Assembly is 67 with three BJP MLAs being elected to the Lok Sabha.

BJP insiders claimed at least five Congress MLAs have indicated that they are ready to form a separate group and support a BJP government.

To evade provisions under the anti-defection law, six Congress MLAs out eight will have to leave the party.

On Saturday, Congress had paraded all its MLAs before the media to show that all its legislators were firmly with the party and rejected speculation of any possible split.

Sources said Upadhyay conveyed to Singh about reluctance of party MLAs to face fresh election as they clearly had conveyed to him in a meeting four days back.

However, a section of the senior Delhi BJP leaders were not in favour of cobbling up a government arguing that it was better to go to polls as BJP had come first in 60 of the 70 Assembly segments in the Lok Sabha polls.

Meanwhile, former RSS leader Ram Madhav, who recently joined BJP, denied reports about RSS asking BJP leaders not to form a government in Delhi.

He said the reports were based on speculation and were "incorrect".

"We have checked with the Sangh leadership and they said they have not given any such directions to any BJP leader," Madhav said.

Upadhyay also said the party was fully ready to go for fresh elections.

"If elections are announced tomorrow, we are fully ready to face it. We are confident of getting a clear mandate to rule Delhi."

A senior leader said the party was ready to go to polls as it feels the power subsidy announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the Delhi Budget on Friday will help it politically.

Read: BJP starts groundwork for fresh Delhi polls

The party-ruled central government had announced power subsidy of up to Rs. 1.20 per unit of electricity in the Delhi Budget which will benefit around 80 per cent or 28 lakh of the city's total power consumers.

BJP had emerged as the single largest party after the Assembly polls in December last year with 32 seats including ally Akali Dal's one MLA.

BJP fell four seats short of a simple majority and had refused to form government, saying it did not have the numbers and will not resort to any "unfair means" to take the reins.

AAP with 28 MLAs had later formed the government with support of eight Congress MLAs.

BJP's number came down to 28 in the house in May after three of its legislators Harsh Vardhan, Ramesh Bidhuri and Pervesh Verma were elected to Lok Sabha. With the resignation of three MLAs, the effective strength of the Assembly went down to 67.

President's rule was imposed in Delhi on February 17 after the 49-day-old AAP government resigned.

Lt Governor Najeeb Jung is likely to send a report to the Centre shortly on the political situation in the city.

On AAP's claim of BJP trying to poach MLAs from Congress, Upadhyay said the party was misleading the people of the city.


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