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LG invites Harsh Vardhan to discuss govt formation in Delhi

Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 12, 2013
First Published: 00:46 IST(12/12/2013) | Last Updated: 11:49 IST(12/12/2013)

Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung late on Wednesday night called BJP chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan for a ‘discussion’ on government formation on Thursday.

The move is expected to bring some clarity regarding the question of government formation in Delhi after Assembly election results failed to throw up a winner with a clear majority.

This comes even as it is becoming clear that the majority of BJP MLAs are unwilling to face fresh polls. While the party’s central leadership is driven by national calculations, some of its MLAs fear they may not win a second time around and are willing to even sit in the opposition to retain their seats.

In contrast, almost all MLAs of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that HT spoke with were ready for a re-election, saying they will return with thumping majority a second time around.

The BJP-Akali Dal combine won 32 seats while AAP surprised political pundits with 28 seats in the 70 seats Delhi assembly. Neither party, however, has staked claim to form the government since neither has a simple majority  of 36 seats.

HT spoke to 26 of the 32 MLAs, a majority of whom weren’t confident in retaining their seats in the face of an AAP wave and cited additional  burden to the citizen and the exchequer and logistical problems as hurdles for fresh polls.

Read: Why BJP, AAP are not willing to form a govt in Delhi

“We can’t predict people’s mood and things can change for good or bad. There is no guarantee that we will get more seats. People have elected us for five years and not six months. What if there is a fractured mandate again?” said a BJP MLA on condition of anonymity.

Though AAP has drawn flak for not forming the government with the Congress, which offered unconditional support, the rookie party isn’t willing to change course, according to 14 of the 28 AAP MLAs that HT contacted.

“There is nothing in the world that is unconditional. The feedback that we are getting is overwhelming, our voters are telling not to support nor take support of either Congress or BJP. We need to keep voters’ trust,” said Saurabh Bhardwaj, AAP MLA from Greater Kailash,

The tussle between the BJP and AAP has intensified in the last few days with some BJP MLAs maintaining that a AAP-Congress government will expose AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal. The claim has been strongly countered by AAP who have pointed the finger at BJP for not accepting the mandate to form a government, saying it will work towards AAP’s favour in a re-election.

Read: Once ridiculed, AAP supporters flood Jantar Mantar with signature caps


President talks to L-G

President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday asked Jung about the process of government formation in Delhi even as BJP and the AAP (AAP) made it clear that they are not staking claim.

Official sources said Mukherjee asked Jung about how he was proceeding on the issue amid speculation that Delhi will be put under President’s Rule and fresh elections will be announced.

The Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung held consultations with experts to explore the next course of action. Sources said in the wake of the publicly stated position of both BJP and AAP, the L-G was considering “all options”.

(With inputs from PTI)

Read: Re-election: Who will Cong pick this time?

Read: Ramdev, Anupam Kher urge Kejriwal-led party to respect people’s mandate and form next government

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