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Why BJP, AAP aren't staking claim in Delhi

Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 10, 2013
First Published: 00:49 IST(10/12/2013) | Last Updated: 12:15 IST(10/12/2013)

For the first time in two decades since the first assembly elections were held in Delhi in 1993, the possibility of imposition of President's rule looms large as no party got a clear majority.

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The BJP with 32 seats is four short of the majority mark of 36 in the 70-member assembly and the debutant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is a close second with 28 seats.

Though both are taking potshots at each other given a bitter campaign they ran, they have different reasons for not staking claim to try and form the government.

Given the precedents, it is widely anticipated that BJP, being the single largest party, will get a message from the Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung. The million dollar question is that whether this crucial call would be in the form of an invitation to form the government or for a discussion if the saffron party can get the elusive numbers to reach the majority mark. Arvind Kejriwal's AAP is in a lesser dilemma than the BJP since it is highly unlikely that it can muster eight more MLAs it requires to form the government. This new party had also made it clear during its high-pitched election campaign that it will not align either with the Congress or the BJP.

For the BJP, however, it has been a case of so near yet so far, and the timing of the result -- barely five months before the Lok Sabha elections --  leaves it with very few options. Sensing a real chance of returning to power at the Centre, riding on the Narendra Modi wave, the BJP appears to have played safe by taking a moral high ground of not staking claim in the capital citing lack of numbers.

Its strategy seems to be wait and watch at the moment and the party, which has been out of power in the capital for the past 15 years, may not be averse to a short bout of President's rule to test the patience of greenhorn AAP MLAs, all of whom are first timers.

The BJP leaders went on record that they are opposed to any horse trading, but are quiet on the replication of the Karnataka experience where its former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa successfully made some Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs resign from the assembly to bring down its effective strength and later got them elected on the BJP ticket.

Though both the BJP and AAP appear confident of doing well in the event of a re-poll taking place along with the Lok Sabha elections, how the voters would react must be weighing heavily on their minds.  

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