As night fell, Delhi plunged into uncertainty and the spectre of a hung House loomed large. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) failed to get a majority despite emerging as the single largest party and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), coming in at No. 2, stuck to its guns, saying it would neither seek support nor back another to form a government. By evening, when it became clear that the verdict was evenly divided, BJP leaders said they would not hurry to seek support from other quarters as that could “dent credibility”.
“We do not believe in jod-tod ki rajneeti. We will not break people away from their parties. People have not given us a mandate to form the government and we will respect their decision. We will perform our duties as the opposition as per the people’s mandate,” Harsh Vardhan, the BJP’s CM candidate, said.
BJP sources said posturing such as this was the only option for them as of now, given that only one Independent had made it.
With 32 seats, the BJP needs four more to go past the half-way mark —- the AAP has 28, Congress 8, JD(U) 1 and one Independent. JD(U)’s Shoaib Iqbal refused to extend support to the BJP. He said he was ready to back the AAP while the Independent said he would support the BJP if they made him Deputy CM.
Rajnath Singh, however, spoke a different line. “We will form the government.”
Some BJP leaders admitted that there were attempts at negotiations with the AAP earlier in the day, but the party then decided to “wait and watch.”
AAP spokesperson Manish Sisodia said there was no possibility of an alliance. “It will be clear over the next few days as to what will happen. So far, it looks like a hung House since we will not ally with anyone. But the option is open for the BJP to form a government based on being the single-largest party,” he said.
Sources in the AAP said Sunday evening had been spent in making calls to each of their winning candidates to take stock.
“We told them to stay calm despite the obvious pressure that they will be under. Even though some MLAs have been getting calls from certain parties, our party discipline is strong. We have been voted to power on the principles of our party,” one AAP leader said.