The Big Delhi Circus

New Delhi: The much-delayed monsoon has little impact on the political climate of the national capital. Swinging between moral posturing and realpolitik, BJP and AAP are secretly exploring options for forming a government. As the war of words hots up, a nervous AAP is accusing BJP of horse-trading, which the latter chides, saying it is against the BJP ethos. However, it would wait for the L-G’s call at the appropriate time.

While Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay held meeting with the Home Minister on Sunday, Kejriwal followed suit with a meeting with the L-G on Monday. But the man who took real advantage was the colourful Congress Delhi Chief Arvinder Singh Lovely, who paraded all his eight MLAs at the L-G’s house on Saturday, as if to deny media reports of a possible defection. That was melodrama at its best.

The speculations of BJP eyeing the Delhi CM’s post were triggered by the statement of the new state president, Satish Upadhyay that all options are open to it.

Rival political parties are now at daggers drawn with BJP over how it could feel so confident of working out an option to form the government after having expressed till recently, its inability to muster the numbers to form a government on its own? They suspect foul play and fear poaching of their respective MLAs.

Significantly, Upadhyay’s remark was made just a couple of days after Lt-Governor (LG) Najeeb Jung’s statement that the possibility of forming a government “in this Assembly itself” was still being explored.

The issue has now focussed on the role of the Governor, and reflects on why the ruling dispensation would want a friendlier Governor. Apparently, the LG seems well within his jurisdiction to explore all possibilities since the Delhi Assembly is still in suspended animation. But his detractors, Kejriwal in particular, have missed no chance to attribute motives to his decisions.

That Kejriwal accused the governor of acting in a partisan manner is not without a reason. After all, he does nurture a grudge against the L-G for rejecting the outgoing AAP government’s recommendation for dissolution of the Assembly and instead suggesting the imposition of President’s rule by keeping the Assembly under suspended state.

Najib was appointed L-G by the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and not the present BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government. This makes the whole episode all the more interesting given that the Union Home Ministry has distanced itself from the whole controversy surrounding Najib’s latest statement. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has denied that his ministry had given the L-G any directive to explore the options for government formation!

As for BJP, its leaders now are in a damage control mode, making statements that the party would never indulge into horse trading. The present Delhi scenario gives the issue of defection an entirely new context. Supposing that BJP wants to form the government by any means, fair or unfair, it would find difficult to win over two-thirds of the 28 AAP legislators, as required by the Anti-defection Law, to form the government. Instead, it may be easier for the BJP to win two-thirds of the eight Congress MLAs.

It is a different matter though that whether Congress MLAs will yield, as four of them are Muslims and one, Sikh. Another option being cited is that BJP wins the support of the two Independents and persuades Congress MLAs and a few AAP MLAs too, who might not like a fresh election for the fear of losing, to abstain from the voting on the confidence motion to enable it form the government.

Power is intoxicating. Nobody wants to abandon power. Now, whether the power will go to the Saffron camp is something that only time can tell. So it would be interesting to wait for some more time as the all new political drama unfolds in New Delhi.

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