A meeting between BJP national president Amit Shah and former Delhi minister Jagdish Mukhi on Monday triggered speculation about the latter emerging as the frontrunner for the party’s chief ministerial candidate for Delhi.
Mukhi, however, said his meeting with the BJP president was a chance encounter. “It was a chance meeting. We just exchanged greetings as he (Shah) was exiting the building at the time I was entering 11, Ashoka Road (the BJP headquarters in Delhi),” Mukhi said.
Mukhi’s supporters have already been campaigning for his candidature on social media. His official Facebook page asks followers: “Will BJP’s Jagdish Mukhi be the next chief minister of Delhi?”
Party sources said Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay had spoken to Mukhi about running a campaign without an official word from the party in this regard.
Meanwhile, AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal and party MLAs met Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung in a show of strength on Monday, urging him to dissolve the Assembly with immediate effect and call for fresh elections.
After the meeting, the L-G’s office released a statement saying the “full situation” would be accounted for, and a report would be sent to President Pranab Mukherjee.
Speaking about the meeting, Kejriwal tweeted, “Met the Lieutenant Governor. Had good discussions. He will now invite BJP for discussions. If BJP claims they can form govt, L-G will ask them to show numbers. We presented all MLAs before the Lieutenant Governor and told him they were not going anywhere…. We asked the governor then under what formula could the government be formed in Delhi? He had no answers. We told him that delay in dissolving assembly was encouraging horse trading. The big question is — BJP chunaav kyun nahi karana chahti?(Why does the BJP not want elections?)”
Emerging from the meeting, Manish Sisodia said, “We pointed out that the BJP had refused to form the government when it had 32 MLAs. With 29 MLAs, how are they ready to form the government?”
The BJP’s numbers have come down after three of their MLAs — Harsh Vardhan, Pravesh Saheb Singh and Rambir Bidhuri — successfully fought the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi.
Senior AAP leader Ashutosh, however, pointed out that a “simple oral assurance” from the L-G regarding inviting a party to form the government “would not work”.
“Lieutenant Governor can’t invite party to form government unless he is sure that the party has majority in assembly. This is a Constitutional requirement. And invited party should furnish evidences of majority support. Lt-Governor discretion is limited. Simple oral assurance will not work,” he tweeted.