New Delhi: Rapped by the Supreme Court, Lt Governor Najeeb Jung will kick off consultations with BJP, AAP and Congress in the next couple of days in fresh efforts to install an elected government in the capital or dissolving the assembly to pave way for elections early next year.
Jung, who returned from abroad last night, met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and discussed with him possible solutions to end the political uncertainty in Delhi which is under President's Rule since February after AAP quit power.
“In view of the President's approval to explore the possibility of installing a popular government in Delhi, the Lt Governor would be exploring the possibilities with the leaders of all political parties over the next few days,” LG's office said.
BJP, which is likely to be invited by Jung tomorrow for talks on government formation, did not give any clear signal on its strategy but there were indications that the party was preparing for fresh polls in January or February.
Sources said BJP President Amit Shah and Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Rajnath Singh were in favour of the party forming a government while some others were of the view that it should not run away from polls when Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rating was high.
“There is a possibility of the party turning down offer of government formation,” a senior party leader told PTI. The LG's decision to begin consultations with the political parties came a day after a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu slammed the Centre and the Lt Governor for delay in taking a decision on government formation in Delhi.
The case will come up for hearing tomorrow again. AAP and Congress today came down hard on Jung, questioning his move to hold consultation with the parties when it was clear that no party was in a position to provide a stable government.
Currently BJP, along with ally Akali Dal's lone MLA, has 29 legislators and will require the support of five more MLAs to prove majority in the 67-member assembly if it decides to form the government.
Congress and AAP demanded immediate dissolution of the assembly to pave way for holding of fresh polls. Demanding holding of polls along with Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi Congress accused Jung of acting under the influence of the NDA government and questioned his move to call the parties to explore government formation.
The party alleged that Jung was bringing “disrepute” to the Constitutional office by allowing BJP leaders to “dictate” terms to him with an aim to help the saffron party politically.
“Why has the Lt Governor decided to call all political parties to explore formation of a government eight months after imposition of President's Rule? He is acting at the behest of BJP which is unacceptable,” Delhi Congress chief spokesperson Mukesh Sharma said.
AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal also attacked the Lt Governor, accusing him of working at the behest of BJP. “It is unfortunate that LG is in active collusion with BJP and running the backdoor government for the BJP and acting as an agent of BJP rather than protecting the Constitution.”
BJP had emerged the single largest party in the December assembly polls winning 31 seats but fell four seats short of a simple majority. It refused to form government then, saying it will not resort to any “unfair means” to take over the reins.
Its strength came down to 28 after the Lok Sabha polls as three MLAs Harsh Vardhan, Ramesh Bidhuri and Pervesh Verma were elected to the Parliament. The bypolls to the three seats will be held on November 25.
AAP had formed the government in Delhi with the support of Congress. The government led by Kejriwal had resigned on February 14 after the party's pet project, the Janlokpal Bill, could not be passed due to opposition from BJP and Congress.
President's Rule was imposed in Delhi on February 17. Jung had not favoured dissolution of the Delhi assembly as recommended by the council of ministers headed by Kejriwal and kept the assembly in suspended animation.