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No possibility of AAP backing BJP in Delhi: Kejriwal

Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 10, 2013
First Published: 13:03 IST(10/12/2013) | Last Updated: 18:51 IST(10/12/2013)

Post-poll uncertainty continued in Delhi after Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor Arvind Kerjiwal on Tuesday said that his party will not support the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in forming the government and rejected party leader Prashant Bhushan's suggestion.

Both the BJP and the AAP have refused to form the government, which may force the national capital to come under the President's rule and see a re-election in a few months.

"There is no question of support to BJP. We will neither support anybody nor seek support. BJP has got the mandate as the largest party. Why does it not form the government with Congress? After all they have the same ideology, both are corrupt," Kejriwal said.

He also added, "What Bhushan said last night is his personal opinion. He was with us this morning for a meeting."

Bhushan had told NDTV on Monday night that his party may consider supporting the BJP if it gave AAP a written commitment to pass the jan lokpal bill on December 29, and conceded other key demands.

But the senior AAP leader on Tuesday backtracked from his comment on extending support to the BJP to form a government in Delhi.

"What I said was in a rhetorical context," Bhushan said.

"I meant that if the BJP becomes like AAP and does those things which AAP has been formed for and AAP believes in, then we can think of supporting them. But this is not possible because these parties can never become like AAP."

Read: AAP, BJP insist they want to sit in Oppn; Delhi headed for Prez Rule

Kejriwal also upfront declared that one of AAP candidate Dharmendra Koli from Seemapuri constituency should not have celebrated the way he did, by lighting crackers and dancing.

An FIR has been registered against Koli after wife of the outgoing MLA complained about sexual harassment during his success rally.

"He (Koli) will be warned," Kejriwal said. 

The AAP leader also said the party is already on coarse to chart ways to expand it at the national level and would come up with announcements regarding it soon.

Since counting ended on Sunday without giving a clear majority to any party, both the BJP and AAP have said that they would prefer to sit in the Opposition.

Any party needs a minimum of 36 seats to form the government in Delhi. The BJP, the single-largest party with 32 seats, is four short of this target. AAP, which made an impressive debut, has 28 seats in the 70-member assembly.

BJP’s Delhi election in-charge Nitin Gadkari on Monday called a meeting to discuss the issue of government formation that was attended by its chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan and other senior leaders.
 
The entire BJP leadership, including Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, believes the party should not form the government since it does not have the requisite numbers.

Sensing a real chance of returning to power at the Centre after the 2014 general elections, the BJP is possibly playing safe by taking the moral high ground with its stand.
 
"The national leadership is clear the BJP does not want to stake any claim, even if there is an invitation from the Lieutenant Gover nor. The party is ready to go for re-elections," said a party source.

"Delhi has given me a mandate, but not the majority I require. I am also not interested in directly or indirectly indulging in any manipulation to reach a majority," Vardhan said.
 
AAP too stuck to its stand on Monday after a meeting of its newly elected MLAs.

"We will prefer a re-election but will not form a government," said Kejriwal.

"If both parties don’t budge from their stands, the LG can send a note to the ministry of home affairs (MHA) recommending President’s Rule. After getting approval from the Union cabinet, the MHA will send it to Parliament for ratification," official sources said.

If that happens, Delhi may be under President’s Rule for six months before a re-election that may possibly take place along with the 2014 general elections.

Meanwhile, AAP may shift its focus to Mumbai in the upcoming Maharashtra assembly elections in 2014:

Read: After Delhi, AAP to focus on Mumbai 

Read: Why BJP, AAP aren't staking claim in Delhi

(With agency inputs)

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