Deadlock in Delhi

Suspense over government formation after Delhi delivered a hung house continued yesterday, with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) insisting on playing the opposition’s role and the BJP, the single largest party, uncertain on how to cobble a majority in the70-member house.

BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan said the party did not have the necessary support to form a government -- it is four short of a majority -- and he was not interested in talking to any other party.

Broomstick revolution: The AAP, whose symbol is the broom, shocked all by coming in second in the polls. They refused to join hands with the BJP or the Congress. Pic/AFP

“We don’t have the numbers in Delhi, so we can’t form the government,” said Harsh Vardhan. “We are not interested in talking to anyone. We are not in talks with anybody, nor are we interested.” He also made it clear that the BJP would not resort to wooing legislators of other parties.

The BJP on Sunday won 31 seats in the Delhi assembly and has the support of a lone Shiromani Akali Dal member. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won 28 seats in its maiden electoral debut.

The Congress ended up with just eight legislators. A BJP rebel and a Janata Dal-United candidate also won. The latter has refused to back the BJP.

Former BJP president Nitin Gadkari said earlier that it was the BJP’s responsibility to give a popular government to the people of Delhi. “We will find a solution and try our level best to (form) a government,” Gadkari said.

The BJP, which had hoped to return to power in Delhi after being in the opposition for 15 long years, has called a meeting of its legislators today.

Happy in opposition
The one-year-old AAP said more categorically that it will prefer to be in the opposition or face the electorate again -- if that would bring a clear result.

AAP leader Manish Sisodia said they would prefer a re-election to putting together an uncertain coalition. “We are going to sit in the opposition. There is no need for wait and watch,” said AAP’s national executive member Pankaj Gupta. “As of now nobody can form a government.”

Outgoing Congress chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who herself lost the election to AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, ruled out joining hands with AAP. Constitutional experts said convention demanded that Lt Governor Najeeb Jung ask the single largest party to try and form a government. If the BJP refused, the AAP could be given a chance, said former Lok Sabha secretary PDT Achary.

Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi, suggested that the Delhi verdict was against the Congress and that people had voted both for the BJP and AAP. And so, the two parties should explore the possibility of forming a government on the basis of a common minimum programme.

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