Bharatiya Janata Party's Harsh Vardhan declines to form govt in Delhi, Lt Guv invites Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party for talks

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 13 2013, 17:41pm hrs
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which emerged as the single largest party in Delhi Assembly polls but fell short of a majority, today declined to form a government, strengthening the likelihood of fresh election in the national capital.

Meanwhile, Lt Governor Najeeb Jung has invited Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, whose party with 28 MLAs is the second largest, for discussions on government formation on Saturday. Like BJP, AAP is also expected to decline the offer, citing lack of mandate.

After a meeting with Jung who invited him to discuss government formation, party's chief ministerial nominee Harsh Vardhan said BJP would like to sit in the opposition in view of the lack of clear mandate by people of Delhi.

"With BJP emerging as the single largest party in Delhi polls, Lt Governor invited me to discuss government formation.

We have conveyed to him that we do not have enough seats and in view of lack of clear mandate, the party would like to sit in the opposition," Vardhan told reporters.

BJP, along with its ally Akali Dal's one seat, has 32 MLAs in the 70-member House while Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has 28 seats followed by Congress' eight. JD-U won one seat while the Mundka seat went to an Independent.

Vardhan said if any other party was interested in forming a government they are welcome but remained non-committal whether BJP would support such a formation.

Asked if their move was pushing the national capital towards fresh elections, he said his party cannot be held responsible for the consequences of the fractured mandate.

AAP leader Manish Sisodia said that Kejriwal received a call from the LG office in the evening for discussion on government formation. He said the party's stand remained the same and it would not form the government.

There have been suggestions that AAP, which made an electrifying debut and emerged as the second largest party, should form government with outside support of either BJP or Congress, a view rejected outright by the debutant party.

AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal had yesterday made it clear that his party would prefer fresh election than forming a government with support from Congress or BJP.

In a statement, the LG's office said Vardhan expressed his inability to form the government since the BJP, along with its alliance partner the SAD, do not have a clear majority in the Delhi Assembly.

Vardhan has also handed over a letter to Jung in which he said, "People have supported BJP by making it the single largest party. However, in a situation where we have not got a clear mandate, we would prefer to sit in the opposition keeping in with the party's high moral traditions.

"The main reasons of people's woes in Delhi are Congress' misrule and aimless policies. In place of listening to people's problems, the Congress government did not pay heed to them. This led to Congress rout in assembly election and the party was left with just eight seats.

"Even their leader lost her seat. We wanted bring smiles on faces of Delhi residents after the assembly elections, but that could not happen as we fell short of majority by four seats," he said in the letter.

In his interaction with media, Vardhan said BJP will not resort to horse trading as it believes in politics of honesty.

"Politics has to be done with honesty. It is better for us to sit in the opposition and work for the people," he said.

"The LG has instructions from the President that whoever stakes claim has to prove their majority within 7 days. We do not have the numbers. I also know that our party will not break and not get involved in horse treading," he said.

When asked if they will give their support to AAP, Vardhan said their giving support to AAP doesn't come in the scene as the party has already specified that it will neither take nor give support to anyone.

"AAP has already specified that they are not going to take or give support. As we don't have majority in the house, better for us to sit in the opposition and work for the people. We apologise to the Dellhiites for that," he said.

If President's Rule is imposed, then the Lt Governor will run the government with the help of a group of advisors.