Delhi heading for assembly elections?

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New Delhi, Jun 15: The national capital appears to be heading for assembly elections within next six months with all three major parties -- BJP, Aam Aadmi Party and Congress -- contending that there was no option but to seek people's mandate afresh for formation of a new government.

A number of senior leaders from these parties admitted that their MLAs were reluctant to face the elections anytime soon but said preparations for fresh polls have already begun considering the current political situation.

"BJP is ready for fresh elections. The party has already started preparations for it. There is no possibility of government formation by any party and in such a situation, elections are the only option," former Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta said emphatically.

Sources in BJP said a sizeable number of party MLAs have already apprised the leadership about their unwillingness to go to polls again but they have been told to get ready for elections.

President's rule was imposed in Delhi on February 17 and Lt Governor Najeeb Jung is likely to send a report to the Centre in a month or two, detailing about the political situation.

"The ball is on Lt Governor's court. It is his prerogative to take the next step. Based on his report, a decision may be taken (by the Centre)," said Gupta.

The Union Cabinet is likely to take a decision on whether to extend President's rule by another six months or go for fresh polls based on LG's report.

Sources in Delhi BJP said they have apprised the leadership about their readiness to go for polls. They said though a section in the party had made some efforts to form a government, the leadership did not approve the initiative.

The number of BJP MLAs came down to 28 from 31 in the 70-member assembly after three of its legislators Harsh Vardhan, Ramesh Bidhuri and Pervesh Verma were elected to Lok Sabha.

After expulsion of rebel MLA Vinod Kumar Binny from the party, the number of AAP MLAs has also come down to 27 from 28. Congress has eight MLAs while BJP ally Akali Dal has one MLA.

Following its electoral drubbing in Lok Sabha polls, AAP had expressed willingness to form the government but Congress made it clear that it will not support the party again.

"There is no rethinking on extending support to AAP. Congress is ready for fresh election. We will prefer election than supporting AAP," said DPCC Chief Arvinder Singh Lovely.

Another Congress leader Mukesh Sharma said there was no way out than holding elections in Delhi. Admitting that party MLAs were reluctant to face the elections, he, however, termed as "baseless" reports that some Congress legislators were ready to quit the party to help AAP form a government.

"These reports are totally fabricated and baseless. All our MLAs are united and are true soldiers of the Congress," said Sharma.

Sources in the Congress said the party will not review its decision not to support AAP as it feels the new party has taken away its traditional vote bank.

The Congress has already held a number of agitational programme in the city demanding better power and water supply, in an effort to connect with the masses.

After Congress' refusal to support it, AAP has already announced that it was ready for election.

The party has launched 'Mohallah Sabha' programmes in the city to touch base and extend its support. A senior AAP leader said the party has started preparations for the assembly polls.

PTI

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