Finding their tally falling ‘significantly short’ of the magic 36-mark in the 70-member Delhi Assembly, the Bharatiya Janata Party has decided not to stake claim to form the government in a hurry.
Party sources said the position was “evaluated” at a meeting on Sunday evening held at the residence of former national president and Delhi in-charge Nitin Gadkari.
The meeting was attended by a number of senior Delhi BJP leaders including State unit president Vijay Goel, chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan, Leader of Opposition in the outgoing Assembly V. K. Malhotra, organisational secretary Vijay Sharma, former Mayor Arti Mehra, former Delhi unit president Vijender Gupta and a number of winning candidates .
With the BJP managing 31 seats and falling short of the half-way mark and not finding many allies among the rest to form the government, the meeting decided to adopt a wait-and-watch approach. However, there was a strong opinion that in the absence of adequate numbers, the party should better sit in the Opposition.
With the Aam Aadmi Party bagging the second highest tally of 28 seats and the Congress eight, the BJP was left with the prospect of courting the three remaining winners of whom one is an independent – Rambeer Shokeen from Mundka – while the other is a BJP ally and Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) candidate Manjinder Singh Sirsa from Rajouri Garden and the last being Shoaib Iqbal of Janata Dal (United) from Matia Mahal.
Of these, the BJP could at best think of getting the support of Mr. Shokeen and Mr. Sirsa as JD (U) national president Sharad Yadav categorically declared during the day that his party would not support the BJP.
The BJP came to realise the futility of making any attempt to form a government. Mr. Vijay Goel later told The Hindu that the party “is in no hurry”. “We will keep working towards strengthening our organisation in Delhi,” he said in an oblique reference to the party preparing for another Assembly election in Delhi very soon.
In the case of the single largest party refusing to stake claim to form the government, the Lieutenant-Governor is likely to call the second largest party, in this case the AAP, to form the government. But AAP, which stopped short of the 30-seat mark, has made it clear that it would neither take nor give any kind of support to either the Congress or the BJP, who it said should come together to form a government if they so liked.
With there being no precedence of the Congress and the BJP coming together anywhere in the country, questions are now being asked as to how long the hung Assembly would be allowed a suspended animation status. And when, if the impassé indeed persists, would it go for the polls next.