In a move that signals the party’s willingness to form the government in the capital, the Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to soon appoint a new legislative party leader.
While Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay said that a decision in this regard would be taken after consulting all the party leaders, sources said senior MLA Jagdish Mukhi could be a strong contender for the post.
“The party has already appointed a new party president and state unit chief so the next logical step would be to appoint a legislative party leader. A decision in this regard will be taken very soon,” said Upadhyay.
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan had been elected the legislative party leader and was the chief ministerial candidate of the party. However, after he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Chandni Chowk, Vardhan resigned from the post of MLA, Krishna Nagar. The post of legislative party leader was vacant ever since.
The decision to appoint a legislative party head was taken at a meeting on Wednesday attended by all BJP MLAs. Sources said that all the legislators were of the view that the party should take a shot at government formation in Delhi.
Upadhyay said that if the Lieutenant Governor invited them, they would take a decision then. “I have held consultations on the issue with the MPs, MLAs and other party leaders. I will now discuss the issue with the national leadership and a final decision will be taken only then. All options are open for us,” he said.
Delhi is under President’s rule after the Aam Aadmi Party, that had outside support from the Congress, quit the government within 49 days. The 2013 Delhi assembly elections had thrown a hung assembly. While the BJP emerged as the single largest party with 32 seats, the AAP won 28 seats. The Congress managed just 8 seats.
Despite having the maximum numbers in the house, the BJP refused to form the government.
Since a re-election is still a strong possibility, the BJP MLAs are a worried lot since in the absence of an elected government, they were not able to get a lot of development work done. During the meeting, they raised this issue too, sources said.
“We can solve the problems of people better if we are in power. Right now they (the officials) simply ignore our requests. If our party would be in power they will take us more seriously,” said a senior BJP leader.
A significant number of party MLAs have also informed the national leadership about their unwillingness to face fresh polls.
The BJP’s current strength in the Delhi assembly is 28 after three of its legislators were elected to Lok Sabha. In the total 32, one seat had gone to its ally Akali Dal.
Upadhyay, meanwhile, slammed AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal for levelling allegations of horse trading against the party.
Upadhyay said that either Kejriwal prove his charges or tender an apology.
“If he fails to do this we will take legal action against him. His party is nothing but a group of liars and they have no other business but to accuse us,” said the Delhi BJP chief.