The Congress appears to be in favour of a BJP government in Delhi as it believes this would help it regroup and revive and also shrink the political space occupied by the Aam Aadmi Party — though it isn’t saying so publicly.
The grand old party — voted out of the Capital after 15 years in power — isn’t prepared for fresh elections, having lost a massive chunk of its vote bank to the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP in last year’s assembly polls and this summer’s general elections. And AAP still remains a formidable force.
The thinking in the party is that if fresh elections were to be held now, there is a good chance that its numbers will be further reduced from the present eight in the 70-member assembly.
At this juncture, the best case scenario for the Congress is for the BJP to form the government — at least for some time — and buy it some time to regroup. “And in the next few years, anti-incumbency would set in against the BJP both at the Centre and the state and eventually help us regain power,” a senior Congress leader told HT on condition of anonymity.
The single largest party in Delhi with 28 MLAs, the BJP is currently preparing to form the government and is expecting an invitation from the lieutenant governor any time. The party also swept all seven Lok Sabha seats in the general elections while AAP pushed the Congress to the third spot.
Moreover, Congress sources said, delayed polls would be disadvantageous to AAP, looking to redeem itself after its decision to quit government after 49 days in power backfired. According to a Congress strategist, it would be difficult for AAP to stay relevant for another three to four years.
This explains the Congress’ ambivalent stand on the dissolution of the Delhi assembly.
In the Supreme Court, which is hearing the matter on a petition filed by AAP, it has opposed the move, maintaining that there is still the possibility of government formation. Outside, it has remained non-committal but also attacked the BJP for its attempts to form the government. “It shows the BJP is afraid to face the people. They have been trying to poach Congress MLAs but failed,” general secretary Shakeel Ahmad said.