Congress softens stand after Arvind Kejriwall rules out support to BJP to form government

The BJP on Tuesday made clear its reluctance to form government in Delhi saying it did not have the numbers and that it is ready to face elections, even as the Congress appeared to extend an olive branch to the AAP after Arvind Kejriwal ruled out any support to the BJP.

Harsh Vardhan, BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in the Assembly polls, was on Tuesday formally elected as the leader of the legislature party at the first meeting of 31 party MLAs and one SAD legislator at the Delhi BJP office.

“It is a sad situation for us and residents of Delhi, but due to present technicalities, government cannot be formed with a fractured mandate. We don’t have enough numbers to form a stable government and we are ready to fight the election once again, if such a situation arises,” Mr. Vardhan told reporters after the meeting.

“We have emerged as the single largest party in Assembly polls, but lack a few seats (for majority). We are neither eager nor even trying to form government by any immoral means.

“Whether we form the government or not, we will continue serving people. I today promise that residents of Delhi will not regret electing us as their representatives,” added Mr. Vardhan.

Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel also reiterated the party’s line.

“As we have not got majority, we have decided not to form government by any horse trading and any illegal means. In every election, hundreds of crores of rupees are spent. We would have been happy, had any party formed the government,” said Mr. Goel.

Expressing confidence that the BJP will be able to form government after a re-poll, Mr. Goel said that the party was ready to sit in the opposition and also ready to face election.

“I am confident that like this time, we will once again emerge as number one party in the election and will get majority to form the government,” said Mr. Goel, adding that the party is not seeking anyone’s support.

On being asked about AAP leader Prashant Bhushan’s reported proposal to support his party to form government, Mr. Goel said he was not sure whether it was his individual view or his party’s. “We cannot decide on such proposals,” said Mr. Goel.

“If we get any invitation from Lt. Governor, we will decide whether we can form the government or not,” said Mr. Goel to a query about their future strategy.

Asked about an allegation of molestation against AAP’s newly elected MLA from Seemapuri, Mr. Goel said AAP should see that party members do not further tarnish its image.

“Thirteen rebels from the BJP and the Congress have been given tickets by the AAP. I don’t know under what consideration they have been given tickets. The AAP should see that party members do not further tarnish its image. Police have already filed an FIR and are looking into the matter,” said Mr. Goel.

The meeting was attended by Delhi election in-charge Nitin Gadkari, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Mr. Goel among other senior leaders.

Cong. appears to extend olive branch to AAP

Meanwhile, the Congress on Tuesday appeared to extend an olive branch to the AAP to form a government in Delhi after Mr. Kejriwal ruled out giving any support to the BJP for the purpose.

“A number of senior leaders of Delhi are of the opinion that we should give unconditional support to AAP to form a government. They believe that we should extend outside support to it.

“But we are talking to MLAs from the State. Their opinion is very important. Once we take their opinion, we will appraise the party high command about it,” AICC general secretary in-charge of Delhi Shakeel Ahmed told PTI.

His remarks came shortly after Mr. Kejriwal ruled out support to BJP and termed as “personal opinion” the remarks of AAP leader Mr. Bhushan, who told a TV channel on Monday night that the AAP may consider supporting the BJP if the party gives the AAP in writing that it will pass the Jan Lokpal Bill.

The noted lawyer clarified on Tuesday that what he had said on Monday night was in a rhetorical context.

Mr. Bhushan said the party will not stake claim to form government and prefer to sit in the opposition.

“We cannot support the BJP or the Congress as the AAP was formed as an alternative to them. People have supported us so that we can establish an alternative politics in the country,” Mr. Bhushan said.