BJP appearing close to forming govt in Delhi

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New Delhi, Sep 7: BJP appears close to returning to power in Delhi after a hiatus of over 15 years with indication emerging that the party was ready to form government if invited to take the reins by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, notwithstanding opposition from some senior leaders.

Delhi BJP President Satish Upadhyay, who is known to be favouring formation of government by the party, indicated a decision on the issue in a day or two.

"There will be clarity on the issue within a day or two. We will be able to take a decision on government formation only after getting an invite from the Lt Governor," Upadhyay told PTI.

Earlier, he met Home Minister Rajnath Singh and discussed the political situation. It was his second meeting with Singh in the last three days. BJP sources said the party was ready to form government though a section of leaders was against reviewing an earlier decision of not exploring the option due to lack of majority.

The sources said the dominant view in BJP was that it will not be immoral on its part to take the reins as the party had swept the Lok Sabha polls by winning all the seven seats with comfortable margins. However, they said a number of senior leaders still feel that it will be a major humiliation for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the party if it decides to form government but fails the confidence vote in the assembly.

Giving indication of party's inclination towards government formation, Upadhyay said no MLA from any party wants to face fresh election.

BJP, along with its ally Akali Dal's one MLA, has 29 MLAs in the Assembly and it will require support of five more legislators to prove majority in the House. Sources in the BJP said expelled AAP MLA Vinod Kumar Binny and Independent MLA from Mundka Rambir Shokeen were ready to support BJP which will leave the party short of three legislators to reach the majority mark.

BJP had won 31 seats in the 70-member Assembly but the number of BJP MLAs came down to 28 as three party legislators Harsh Vardhan, Ramesh Bidhuri and Pervesh Verma had resigned from the Assembly after they were elected to Lok Sabha. 

Following resignation of the three legislators, the strength of the Assembly had come down to 67 and BJP will require support of at least five more MLAs to reach the majority mark of 34 to prove its majority in the House.

There are indications that the party may press for invoking a provision in the National Capital Territory Act of carrying out a secret ballot to choose the Chief Minister and prove majority in the assembly.

The Aam Aadmi Party and Congress have been fuming over Lt Governor's communication to the President to seek permission to invite BJP, terming it as "unconstitutional". The AAP had yesterday sought President Pranab Mukherjee's intervention in restraining the Lt Governor in invite BJP to form a government and demanded immediate dissolution of the assembly.

Attacking Jung, AAP leader and former Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, "If BJP is invited, it will be a murder of the democracy", while Congress accused Jung of taking diktats from the Home Minister and a section of BJP leaders.

"The Lt Governor's office is being saffronised. Jung is acting at the behest of Rajnath Singh and some other BJP leaders. We will not tolerate this," said Delhi Congress leader Mukesh Sharma.

Congress today held a rally at Ghonda where it cautioned BJP against grabbing power through "unconstitutional" means. The Aam Aadmi Party had won 28 seats in its debut Assembly elections and had later formed the government with outside support from Congress' eight MLAs.

The government led by Kejriwal had resigned on February 14 after the party's pet project, the Janlokpal Bill, could not be passed due to opposition from BJP and Congress.

President's Rule was imposed in Delhi on February 17. The Lt Governor had not favoured dissolution of the Delhi Assembly as recommended by the Council of Ministers headed by Kejriwal and kept the Assembly in suspended animation.

PTI

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