Soon after Arvind Kejriwal resigned, senior leaders of the BJP indicated that they would not move on their own to form the government in Delhi, and would wait for Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung to take the next step.
“We do not have the numbers,” several central BJP leaders said. They added, however, that they expected Jung to explore the possibility of a new government before recommending either that the assembly be dissolved or be kept in suspended animation.
The BJP has 32 MLAs along with SAD, which makes them the largest block in the House of 70, but are still short of majority.
“It depends on what the Congress signals to the L-G. They have the option of keeping the House in suspended animation, like they did in Jharkhand recently. This can’t be ruled out, because having assembly elections along with Lok Sabha elections will set up a straight BJP-AAP fight and the Congress will be squeezed out,” a top BJP leader said, indicating the thinking in the central leadership.
The leader said the next move would be dictated also by its assessment of prospects in the Lok Sabha elections.
“The decision will be based on long-term strategy for the party in Delhi,” the leader said. Prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will be in Delhi on Saturday, and the issue is likely to be discussed both by the central leadership and the state core group.
The BJP on Friday described Kejriwal’s resignation as an attempt to “cover up” his government’s failure to fulfill promises, and questioned his moral authority to recommend dissolution of the House after “virtually” losing majority, as shown by his failure to introduce the Jan Lokpal Bill.
“AAP did not get the people’s mandate, but it formed the government by deceit, after entering into an alliance that was immoral and full of contradictions. Their tenure was marked by anarchy and an utter lack of respect for constitutional institutions and their dignity. After realising that they were unable to fulfill their promises, they have tried to cover up with resignation,” spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said.
“Even at the time of resignation they showed disrespect to the constitution. After virtually losing the confidence of the House over the (introduction of) Jan Lokpal Bill, they recommended its dissolution,” Trivedi said.
Another central BJP leader said MLAs “desperate” to avoid an election might want to throw their weight behind a BJP government. BJP leaders pointed out that independent MLA Rambir Shokeen, who had earlier supported the AAP government, voted against it on Friday, while AAP rebel Vinod Kumar Binny, while voting with the government to escape disqualification for violating the whip, nonetheless made a statement by sitting away from the treasury.