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Delhi BJP must go for polls, not try forming government

Kamlesh Singh
Kamlesh SinghOct 29, 2014 | 18:46

Delhi BJP must go for polls, not try forming government

Delhi’s government, rather the lack of it, is back in focus after the Supreme Court made it clear that the Centre couldn’t keep a state under President’s Rule for so long. The delay was attributed to the delayed decision on whether the largest party in the suspended legislature be once again called to form a government.

The President has reportedly given his nod to the lieutenant-governor to invite the BJP, which doesn’t have a clear majority, to form a government. L-G Najeeb Jung is likely to do so and the ball will be in BJP’s court. What the BJP does with the ball will decide Delhi’s future.

Here’s why the BJP should refuse to play ball:

1. The party doesn’t have the numbers required for a simple majority. Accepting the invitation to form a government would just substantiate the AAP allegations that BJP has been busy buying support and the prolonged suspension of the Assembly was just a ploy to buy time for it. AAP, which has been struggling with credibility issues, will regain some of it. BJP will lose all of it.

2. When the Narendra Modi-led government came to power in the Centre, the NDA government ordered the UPA-appointed titular heads to relinquish Raj Bhavans across the country. Some of them refused to go without a fight and that led to a lot of bitterness. Some went to court, others were transferred to faraway lands. One man stayed put. UPA-appointed Najeeb Jung was not only allowed to continue but also given a free hand to run Delhi. That’s a deadly enough handle for both AAP and Congress to tar not just Jung’s image but also allege quid pro quo.

3. After the by-polls in some states, BJP was on the back foot with doomsayers saying the Modi wave had waned. But the recent Assembly have changed its fortunes. It has won more seats in Maharashtra than it ever contested and will form the government there. In Haryana, Manohar Lal Khattar has already begun working as the first BJP chief minister. The wave, even critics agree, is not over. In the two states, it fought alone for the first time and emerged victorious. The party had swept the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi. This is the best time to let people decide whether they have the same faith in BJP as they displayed five months ago.

4. In the last Assembly elections, the Aam Aadmi Party emerged as a strong contender by being just a couple of seats behind the BJP. It went on to form the government with Congress support and then quit after 49 days. That disappointed Delhi voters and the disillusionment was palpable in the Lok Sabha election results where it failed to win a seat in Delhi. In fact the rising AAP revolution died prematurely after the Lok Sabha election results came in. The party was so demoralised that it didn’t even contest Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana, the two states where it was supposed to be really strong. Aam Aadmi Party claims it still enjoys the support of Delhi’s middle class and lower middle class voters. This can be proved or disproved only in an election. The BJP can either stay fearful of AAP’s shadow or check out what’s bigger — AAP or its shadow.

5. Lastly, any attempt to delay the dissolution of the defunct Assembly and another election will mean the BJP, with being seated in Centre, wants to rule Delhi by proxy. The absence of a government means the BJP gets all the brickbats for Delhi’s state of mismanagement without actually running the city. It also sustains the perception that Arvind Kejriwal’s party retains its support base. The blurring of the thin line between truth and perception will only strengthen AAP as its "quitter" image softens with time.

Last updated: October 29, 2014 | 18:46
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