After speculations of over four months the official initiative has been taken towards formation of government in Delhi. Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has written to the President Pranab Mukherjee seeking his permission to give a chance to the largest party in the Legislative Assembly to form the government. The President immediately sent Lieutenant Governor’s plea to the Home Ministry. In the 70 member Legislative Assembly the current number of MLAs is 67, three MLAs of the BJP having been elected to the Lok Sabha. In the 67 member assembly, the BJP is the largest party with 29 MLAs including one legislature of its ally Akali Dal. Even in the Delhi Assembly elections, the BJP was in the first place with 32 seats. However, it did not stake claim for forming the government.
The Lieutenant Governor has said that even though the BJP has not staked its claim, it may still be invited to form the government. Delhi BJP president has promptly responded that the party will consider a proposal as and when it comes. He met the Home Minister twice in the meantime. Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister and in-charge of the party affairs in Delhi too met the Home Minister Rajnath Singh in this regard. It is reported that the central party will also seriously consider the proposal. However, one theory is that the BJP has done this exercise only to go past September 9, the date set by the court; in reality it intends to have the elections in Delhi only after the election results of the four states are out. It is also being said that some senior BJP leaders are opposed to the idea of forming a minority government. They argue that if the government is not able to achieve majority then it can have a negative effect on the image of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, the state leaders can place a counter argument as to how long would they sacrifice their political interests for such an image building project? A similar problem may arise in the four states where elections are due within one or two months.
The manner in which all the actions are taking place at high levels, there is a possibility of a BJP government in Delhi in the near future. It does not need to be stated that the decision of the BJP high command and the high ups in the central government have led to the beginning of this exercise. The Lieutenant Governor could swear in the candidate of the largest party as Chief Minister and then allow him/her to prove his/her majority in the next six months. It is said that the BJP has the support of two independent MLAs as well as one MLA who has been expelled from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). It will need the support of two more legislators to reach the required 34 figure for the majority. The way accusations and counter-accusations of ‘horse-trading by mainly AAP and to some extent by the Congress are being heard, it will not be very hard for the BJP to muster a majority after forming the government. In fact, there is a possibility that to avoid the ramifications of the anti-defection law, a group with the required numbers from AAP might break away and join the BJP government. Or some of the Congress MLAs might give way to the formation of the government by abstaining from the house. It is true that no MLA, except Kejriwal, from any party wants fresh election. Kejriwal has hopes that his dramatic politics will again make him chief minister of Delhi.
The bargaining power of the AAP MLAs will be much more. It was heard that the BJP tried to swing four out of the eight Congress MLAs to their side. But the Congress somehow saved itself from possible harm. Ever since Arvind Kejriwal resigned, it is being hotly discussed that the several AAP MLAs are ready to go into the BJP fold. If there was no suspicion of a break in the ranks of the AAP MLAs, the AAP leadership would not have made such a hue and cry about the BJP leadership trying to bribe them. The AAP leadership has even made an appeal to the President in this regard. Although in the recent sting operation, passed on first to the press and then to the Lieutenant Governor by AAP, the Delhi BJP vice president purportedly offered only rupees 4 crores to buy the support of AAP legislator Dinesh Mohania, it is commonly discussed and has also been stated by Kejriwal that the amount set for one MLA by the BJP is rupees 20 crores.
Obviously, there is a bid only when there is something to be sold. It is possible that the AAP leaders, who are being heard giving statements against the formation of the BJP government, might become part of the government holding important positions. One cannot have high expectations of commitment, and that too for long periods of time, from the MLAs of a party which does not believe in organization and ideology. AAP’s Pandora’s box is falling apart. Most of the apolitical AAP MLAs who got elected riding on the wave of the anti-corruption movement, will not join the Congress. Their destination can only be the BJP. In this scenario, protestations that the BJP will not be able to prove its majority do not have much strength.
AAP, which had the second position in the Delhi Vidhan Sabha elections with 28 members, formed the government with the support of the Congress. This government lasted merely for 49 days. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal used the Jan Lokpal Bill as an excuse to tender his resignation and requested the Lt. Governor to dissolve the Vidhan Sabha. The Congress did not withdraw its support. Actually, the intention of Krjriwal was not to work for the public of Delhi but to ‘create history’, and after doing that in Delhi he moved on to Benares.
Throughout this whole exercise, the people of Delhi, who voted for the AAP and BJP against the Congress, have simply been taken for a ride. The people of Delhi need a government, not one more election. The BJP and AAP should get together and form a stable government in Delhi to serve the people. There is no ideological or policy related obstacles in BJP and AAP coming together. Both the parties subscribe to neo-liberalism. The BJP never hides its allegiance to capitalism. In the last two decades it has scaled higher peaks on its path to corporate capitalism abandoning its earlier ranks of small traders. Kejriwal, in the meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), clearly stated his commitment to capitalism. By now it has became clear that the socialist elements in AAP have been cornered. Now it is a group of non-ideology warriors who are destined to be the true servants of the corporate world.
Opposition to the Congress also binds both the parties together. Both have won in the Vidhan Sabha elections by declaring their opposition to the Congress. If one looks back a little in time, it may be noticed that they were together in the India Against Corruption (IAC) and the anti-corruption movement from which AAP has emerged. The whole movement was managed under the auspices of the RSS. Kiran Bedi, a senior as well as active person of the IAC and the anti-corruption movement has already stated that there is no ideological difference between the BJP and AAP. This is why she was against the formation of AAP. The 'secular' face of AAP, Prashant Bhushan, protested against AAP forming the government with the support of the Congress and suggested that the government should be formed with the BJP support instead. The BJP and AAP are natural allies, the most authentic proof of this would be the fact that AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal helped Narendra Modi win the election from Benares.
There is another facet of similarity between the two. Both believe in the ‘moral force’ as opposed to the Constitution and democratic institutions. This has made clear in the article titled ‘Rule by Messiahs’ by Prof. Prabhat Patnaik. Also, S. P. Shukla in his article, ‘Myopia, distortions and blind spots in the vision document of AAP’ has revealed the destructive approach of AAP leaders. It is a well known story that AAP leaders demonstrated their ‘bajrangi’ attitude by doing ‘justice’ to the foreign women on the streets at night in Malviya Nagar area of Delhi.Given that there is no difference regarding the thinking and work-style between the two parties, it will be proper if both get together to form the government. This will mean that there will be no horse-trading, no unnecessary heavy election expenditure and no waste of precious time of government employees.