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BJP faces Hamletian dilemma in Delhi

The BJP is the single largest party in Delhi Assembly and facing a dilemma over whether to form a government or not.

D P Satish | dp_satish

Updated:October 28, 2014, 1:33 PM IST
BJP faces Hamletian dilemma in Delhi
The BJP is the single largest party in Delhi Assembly and facing a dilemma over whether to form a government or not.

New Delhi: It seems Hamlet is the flavour of the season across political circles of India. The Bharatiya Janata Party, which has emerged as the single largest party in Maharashtra, is facing the same dilemma on whether to go with the Shiv Sena or not. The BJP is the single largest party in Delhi Assembly and facing a similar dilemma over whether to form a government or not.

The Delhi assembly is under suspended animation since last February. The matter is before the Supreme Court and the Aam Aadmi Party, which ruled Delhi for just 49 days, wants fresh elections and dismissal of the current assembly. The BJP is dillydallying.

After the Arvind Kejriwal government quit, the BJP was asked to form the government. But the BJP declined the offer. Meanwhile, the AAP went to the Supreme Court seeking dismissal of the assembly to pave way for the fresh elections.

In the past six months, there have been several behind the scene attempts to form a government in Delhi by the BJP. The AAP accused BJP of horse-trading and the BJP denied such reports as plain rumours. There were even talks of AAP and Congress coming together once again to prevent the BJP from forming a government. All these claims and counter claims are unsubstantiated.

After its victory in Maharashtra and Haryana, a section in the BJP is advocating in favour of forming its own government in Delhi. It argues that since the BJP is the single largest party, it should not let go off the opportunity and it is unwise to risk another election.

Some others are favouring fresh elections arguing that the BJP can come to power with absolute majority. The third player, the Congress with just Eight MLAs has adapted a 'wait and watch' policy and not forthcoming.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court has severely criticized the Centre over the Delhi impasse. The most relevant point which the SC has asked is "even if you invite the single largest party, do they have the numbers".

Options before BJP

- Prove simple majority on the floor of the house either by securing support of party/members of another party or by ensuring some members abstain.

- LG can invoke section 9(2) of NCT Act as per which members can elect leader of house through secret ballot. Person elected as leader of house becomes the Chief Minister.

Well. These are legal options available to the BJP. But, political gain or loss plays a bigger role in the decision making of any political party. The BJP is clearly in two minds over the issue.

If it forms government, it will be a minority government. Its current strength in the 70 member Assembly is 29. Three seats are vacant and the Election Commission has declared election to these three seats on November 25. Even if the BJP wins all three seats, its tally would be just 32 seats, three seats still short of halfway mark and four seats short of a clear majority. The AAP has 28 MLAs. One MLA Vinod Kumar Binny has quit the party and may back the BJP. There are two Independent MLAs. With these three BJP can reach the halfway mark.

Even if they form the government, removing Assembly Speaker (he is from AAP) from his post would be difficult. In case of a vote, both will have equal number of 35 votes each, if the Congress decides to side with the AAP and the Speaker decides to cast his vote.

Encouraging more defections or doing something similar to what the Yeddyurappa government did to achieve a clear majority in Karnataka are not really the good options before the party. A section in the party fears that it may generate a lot of negative publicity for the BJP.

The options are limited and complex. The BJP does not know what to do.

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