After Mumbai success, BJP eyes Delhi

satish upadyaNEW DELHI: Delhi could vote for its next government by early next year. The Union Cabinet (photo) on Tuesday afternoon ratified lieutenant-governor Najeeb Jung’s recommendation to dissolve the Delhi Assembly and begin the process of a fresh election in the nation’s capital.

The dissolution of the Assembly was recommended at a special Cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The decision was taken after Jung sent his recommendations after holding talks with leaders of the BJP, AAP and Congress, who all had expressed inability to form the government and sought fresh polls.

Soon after the meeting, a senior Union minister said the Cabinet had recommended dissolution of the Assembly with immediate effect.

While fresh polls expected to be held early next year, the process for the November 25 by-elections to three seats Mehrauli, Tughlakabad  and Krishna Nagar for which the last date for nominations is Wednesday, will stand automatically cancelled.

The Delhi Assembly has been under suspended animation since February 2014. It is mandatory to hold fresh elections within six months of the dissolution of the Assembly.

Technically, the House needs to be dissolved by November 10, last date for withdrawal of nominations for the byelections. There are some indications that the Election Commission might notify fresh polls by mid-February, and till then President’s Rule will continue.

The major thrust of the BJP, AAP and Congress would be to ensure that each party on its own manages to get a clear-cut majority to form the government. In the present Assembly, not a single party had an absolute majority, as a result of which the Congress-backed AAP government could survive only for 49 days, after which the city was put under President’s Rule on February 17.

The political scenario in the city has completely changed after the Congress withdrew its support to the AAP government.

Both the AAP and Congress  have made it clear they would neither seek outside support nor provide any direct support to any outfit in government formation. In such a scenario, only that party which has an absolute majority can stake claim for government formation.

Insiders said both the BJP and the Congress will use their full  might to ensure that the AAP’s success is limited to a handful of seats.

“For us, it is a do-or-die situation. The emergence of the AAP was possible only because our voters backed them in the December elections,” a senior Congress leader said. “Now we have to retain our votebank.”

The BJP too is preparing a strategy to ensure that the AAP is not able to spread its wings further in the fresh election.

The AAP won 28 out of 70 seats in the last Assembly polls. “At that time, Muslims had not voted  for the AAP. But in the Lok Sabha polls, the majority of Muslims voted  for the AAP,” a local BJP leader said.

“We are keeping all these things in mind while planning our strategy for the fresh elections.”

BJP aiming for another win

Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay announced on Tuesday that the party will contest the Delhi elections under a “collective leadership” and will not project any chief ministerial candidate.

“The party has decided to contest the Assembly elections under a collective leadership. We believe in collective leadership, but it doesn’t mean that the party lacks good leaders. We will not declare any CM candidate,” he told reporters.

Justifying the decision, Upadhyay said the BJP had emerged victorious in both Haryana and Maharashtra without declaring a chief ministerial candidate.

In the run-up to the December 2013 Assembly polls, the BJP had declared Harsh Vardhan as its CM candidate, that led to internal bickering as then Delhi unit chief Vijay Goel had chief ministerial ambitions.

Upadhyay said the party will decide about its chief minister at the “appropriate time”.

It is also a do-or-die battle for the AAP.

“If the AAP is not going to perform well, the party is bound to perish very soon. That is why we did not contest in any state election. Our focus is only on the Delhi election,”  an AAP leader said. – From the Asian Age

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