Monday, December 9, 2013

Who will form government in Delhi? BJP or AAP?

Delhi on Sunday witnessed the sensational political debut of the Aam Aadmi Party that decimated many a big name in the Delhi assembly elections. Although it practically wiped out the Congress, which won only 8 seats, and halted the BJP's march to power (which won 31 seats as the single-largest party), AAP is not in a position to form a government in Delhi on its own.

The Bharatiya Janata Party faces the same problem. None of the parties has managed to touch the magic figure of 36 seats on the basis of which they can stake claim to form a stable government in the National Capital.

It now appears that either Delhi might have an unstable government, as mandate has been split between the AAP and the BJP, or the state might have to go to the polls again — sometime along with the general elections.

In such a scenario, Lt Governor Najeeb Jung has no other option left but to invite the BJP to form the government as the party won majority of the seats.

Even if Jung invites the BJP to form the state government, the party will face a hard time reaching the tally of 36. The main leaders of Aam Aadmi Party, including Arvind Kejriwal, have already declared that their party will not ally with the BJP or the Congress.

Conventional wisdom also says if a new party gets such a large number of seats in its first attempt, it is better for it to take on the role of Opposition to protect its credibility.

Now, the BJP is left with the choice of seeking support from Independent candidate and BJP rebel Rambir Shokeen, who has won from the Mundka constituency. Shokeen was denied a ticket by the BJP. Instead, the party fielded former chief minister Sahib Singh Verma’s brother Azad Singh.

Shokeen, who has won with a massive 52,564 votes against Singh’s 45,430, could prove crucial in the current scenario.

Another candidate whom the BJP could reach out to is Shoaib Iqbal of the JD(U).

However, Iqbal who is elected from the Matia Mahal constituency, has already declared that he would not support the BJP. Nevertheless, the four- term MLA who only recently joined the JD ( U), has been known to switch loyalty. Before joining the BJP’s former NDA ally, he was with Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti party.

Meanwhile, BJP's Delhi in-charge Nitin Gadkari said: 'We will form government if we get support. Otherwise, we would like to sit in the opposition.'

Indicating that the logjam may not be easy to resolve, Kejriwal said: "We are ready to sit in the opposition. We will never accept support from anyone."

Whoever now thinks of forming the government in Delhi will have to seek the support of one of the other two parties. However, with the AAP categorically stating that it will neither offer nor take support from anyone, there appears to be an impasse.

The BJP finished with 32 seats (31, plus one seat from its ally SAD), four short of a simple majority as the AAP turned to be the giant killer, bagging 28 seats. And the Congress bagged only eight.

Three scenarios

1. The BJP can always stake claim to form the government as Kejriwal has clearly said that the AAP will not destabilise the government but the BJP will remain on the edge it can be unseated by the AAP and the Congress anytime.

2. The weakened Congress however would be vulnerable to poaching attempts, but this may not be easy given that the anti-defection law stipulates a two-thirds strength for the breakaway group to escape disqualification.

3. The other option is fresh elections. But with the AAP tasting success, the BJP will be jittery to opt for fresh poll as AAP's mass appeal can increase as it has been seen that the Kejriwal's party is a serious contender for power in Delhi. And there is no guarantee that in the fresh polls the BJP can win more seats than what it has got this assembly elections.



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