Delhi heads for election, Jung meets leaders
New Delhi: Delhi was set for a fresh electoral battle after leaders of the BJP, the Congress and the AAP Monday told Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung that they wanted elections to end months of political uncertainty.
Leaders of the three political parties told Jung that fresh balloting was needed as no party was in a position to form the government in the hung 70-member assembly.
A Raj Bhavan statement said Jung would be writing to President Pranab Mukherjee giving his recommendations. He is most likely to suggest fresh election -- the second since December last year.
That election threw up a fractured mandate, with the Bharatiya Janata Party refusing to form the government despite winning 31 seats.
The Aam Aadmi Party came a close second with 28 seats, an electoral performance that stunned the nation, and formed a minority government with Congress backing.
But the government collapsed after 49 days as chief minister and AAP founder leader Arvind Kejriwal resigned after failing to pass a Jan Lokpal Bill.
Kejriwal, who later lost the Lok Sabha election in Varanasi to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said later that he erred by quitting.
A BJP delegation led by its Delhi president Satish Upadhyay was the first to meet the Lt. Governor Monday.
The BJP made no public statement after the meeting. But BJP sources said the party said it wanted a fresh election in Delhi, which has been under President's rule since February.
The sources said they expect the election by February next year.
Congress legislator Haroon Yusuf also told Jung that his party wanted the Delhi assembly dissolved, followed by fresh elections.
"We will contest the election under the guidance of (party president) Sonia Gandhi and (vice president) Rahul Gandhi, and development will be our main agenda," he said.
The AAP, which has repeatedly accused the BJP of trying to poach its legislators to form the government in Delhi, reiterated that it wanted a new election.
AAP leader Manish Sisodia said after meeting Jung along with Kejriwal: "Our stand is what it was eight months ago. We want the Delhi assembly to be dissolved."
Sisodia also took a dig at the BJP.
"If they wanted fresh elections, why did they create all this suspense for all these months?" he asked.
The December 2013 election for the first time led to a three-way battle in Delhi, with the Congress -- which had ruled the capital for 15 long years -- mauled and left with just eight of the 70 seats.
The BJP won all the seven Lok Sabha seats in May this year but the AAP overcame great odds to finish second everywhere, relegating the Congress to the third spot in six places and to the fourth in one constituency.
The Lok Sabha election, however, brought down the BJP's strength in the assembly from 31 to 28 as three legislators were elected to parliament. The AAP now has 27 legislators after one revolted early on.
Some BJP leaders said in recent months that they were capable of forming a new government with the backing of what they said were disgruntled AAP legislators.
But that never happened, and Kejriwal repeatedly accused the BJP of trying to win over AAP legislators with bribery -- a charge the BJP denied.