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Delhi govt formation still uncertain

BJP is still a divided house on the issue of government formation.

NAVTAN KUMAR  New Delhi | 30th Aug 2014

ncertainty prevails over the formation of the Delhi government even as Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has reportedly made up his mind to submit his report to President Pranab Mukherjee. Sources said that the LG is likely to submit his report well before 9 September, the date for hearing in the Supreme Court. The SC, while responding to a petition by the Aam Admi Party (AAP), had on 5 August, asked the LG and the Centre to resolve the deadlock on the issue of government formation within five weeks.

According to sources, despite Jung's efforts, BJP is still a divided house on the issue of government formation. Though Delhi's MLAs are keen for the BJP to form the government, the Central leadership is not comfortable with the idea.

Sources said that the LG can offer the Delhi Assembly to choose a Chief Minister through a secret ballot. "There is a provision in the NCT Act of 1991, which provides such an option to choose the CM which will not invite action under the anti-defection law. Since it's a secret ballot, parties cannot issue the whip to their MLAs," said a senior BJP leader.

Jung could also invite the single largest party to form the government in the capital. After Jung sends his recommendation, it will go through the Home Ministry to the Union Cabinet which will then advise the President. Sources said that the President may or may not accept the advice. In case he accepts the recommendation, the single largest party may be asked to form the government.

In the 70-member Delhi Assembly, the BJP has 28 MLAs, and one supporting MLA of Shiromani Akali Dal. The Aam Admi Party had 28 MLAs, but one MLA Vinod Kumar Binny has been expelled for his anti-party activities, while the Congress has eight MLAs. The Janata Dal (United) has one MLA and the other is an Independent. Three MLAs have been elected to the Lok Sabha. Though the BJP's central leadership has not clarified its stand on the issue, state leaders are lobbying hard for the Chief Minister's post, in case a decision is taken to form the government. Those who are pushing for their case include Jagdish Mukhi, Meenakshi Lekhi, Rambir Singh Bidhuri and Vijay Goel. A senior Delhi BJP leader said: "We will discuss the issue of forming the government only after we get an invitation from the LG. There is also no question of our party staking claim on its own." Delhi has been under President's Rule since 17 February after Arvind Kejriwal resigned from the post of Chief Minister on 14 February. The Assembly, however, has been kept under suspended animation.

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